Harry Potter Facts

Harry Potter Facts

Harry Potter fans just can’t get enough of the wizarding world. Luckily the books are good enough to read over and over again, and the movies are wonderful too. With a Harry Potter series in the works at the moment, due to be released in 2026, it looks like the world won’t be done with Harry Potter any time soon. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together some interesting Harry Potter facts so fans can learn more about the world of the boy who lived. Starting with our favorite of all Harry Potter facts – The Hogwarts motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus. This is Latin, and it can be seen on the Hogwarts school crest. It means Never tickle a sleeping dragon.

The Books

The Writer. The Harry Potter series of books were written by Joanne Rowling. However, her name is JK Rowling on the book covers, as her publisher thought that having a female name on a book about a young boy might hurt sales. The K stands for Kathleen, her grandmother's name.

The Philosopher’s Stone. The first book in the series is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was first published on 26th June 1997 by Bloomsbury in London. 

The Sorcerer’s Stone. The first book was published in the U.S. in September 1998, over a year later, but the name was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This is because publisher Scholastic thought Americans would not know what the philosopher’s stone was. But it could have been worse, they first wanted to call it Harry Potter and the School of Magic…

Around the World. Worldwide, over 500 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold to date, and the series has been translated into over 70 different languages.

Incendio Harry Potter's books

Rejection. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected by at least 12 publishers before Bloomsbury finally had the sense to pick it up. Thank goodness Rowling didn’t give up easily!

Goblet of Fire. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the longest book in the series, about twice the length of any of the first three books. It was initially thought that The Goblet of Fire would be spread across two films, but unfortunately, they couldn’t find a way to break it into two parts. Another Harry Potter film would have been great though!

The Characters

House Elves. Dobby was only freed from Lucius Malfoy and his family in 1993, although some wizarding families still kept house elves enslaved after that. 

Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore's full name is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Dumbledore is an old English word for Bumblebee. He was the Headmaster of Hogwarts for almost 40 years but was the Transfiguration professor before that. He was also a writer for the wizarding magazine ‘Transfiguration Today’. Buy Albus Dumbledore’s amazing fire-shooting wand here. 

The Longbottom’s. Neville Longbottom was a friend of Harry’s and fought bravely against Voldemort. When he was an infant, his parents Frank and Alice Longbottom were tortured by Death Eaters with the Cruciatus Curse until they went mad, and since then they have lived in St. Mungo’s Hospital. They will never learn of their son's heroic part in avenging them. 

Relatives. Harry Potter and Tom Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort) are very distantly related. You can read about Voldemort's family tree here.

Half-Blood. Voldemort, the evil, muggle-hating wizard with pure-blood ideals, was actually a half-blood wizard. He was born Tom Marvolo Riddle, the only child of pure-blood witch Merope Gaunt, and Tom Riddle Senior, a muggle. 

Harry’s Birthday. Harry Potter was born on the 31st of July 1980, meaning he shares his birthday with his creator J.K. Rowling, who was born on the same day in 1965

Incendio Harry Potter's Birthday Cake

Nicolas Flamel. The alchemist who created the Philosopher’s Stone was a real person. He was born in 1330 in France, and apparently died in 1418…

The Actors

Luna’s Earrings. The iconic radish earrings that Luna Lovegood wore in the movies were actually made by actress Evanna Lynch.

A Close Shave. In the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Daniel Radcliffe had to shave one of his legs. In the scene where Harry helps Dobby to win his freedom, Harry pulls up one of his trouser legs. Filmmakers thought the actor was too hairy for a 12-year-old, and asked him to shave.

Putting the Pulp in Fiction. The popular wizarding band, The Weird Sisters, played for the students at Hogwarts Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If you look closely, you’ll see Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker as their lead singer, Myron Wagtail. The rest of the band comprises Pulp’s bass player Steve Mackey, and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway.

Dudley Dursley. Harry Melling lost weight between filming the second and third films, and filmmakers thought about recasting his part, as he became too small to play Dudley. However, they decided that he would instead wear a fat suit.

Moaning Myrtle. Shirley Henderson was 37 when she played Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She is the oldest actor ever to play a Hogwarts student.

Voldemort and His Younger Self. Ralph Fiennes played Lord Voldemort in the last four Harry Potter movies, but a little-known fact is that his nephew, Hero Fiennes Tiffin played the young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Rupert Grint. The actor who played Ronald Weasley auditioned for the role with a rap. It began, “Hello, my name is Rupert Grint, I hope you don’t think I stink.” Well, they did not think he stunk, and they gave him the part.

Emma Watson. The Hermione Granger actress almost quit after filming The Order of The Phoenix. Her contract was up and she was overwhelmed and overworked. Thankfully she decided to stay and see the series out.

Quite a Spectacle. Daniel Radcliffe went through 160 pairs of Harry Potter’s signature rounded glasses during the filming of the eight movies.

Incendio Harry Potter’s signature rounded glasses and ties

The Lightning Bolt Scar. He went through even more lightning bolt scars! Harry’s scar was applied 5,800 times – 2,000 times to Daniel Radcliffe and the rest to his body doubles.

And Wands. Apparently, he also kept using his wands as drumsticks and broke about 80 of them throughout filming. You can buy your own wand here, but please don’t use it as a drumstick, it shoots fire!

Hagrid. Hagrid’s role was the very first one cast in the Harry Potter franchise, as everyone knew that Robbie Coltrane was perfect. But the late Robin Williams wanted to play Hagrid in Harry Potter. Although we are sure he would have been wonderful, we can’t imagine anyone but Robbie Coltrane in that role. 

Malfoy. Tom Felton originally auditioned for the part of Harry Potter. He also auditioned to be Ron, before being perfectly cast as Draco Malfoy. 

The Dashing Professor Lockhart. Hugh Grant was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart, but after encountering some scheduling issues Kenneth Branagh took his place.

Mad-Eye and Bill. Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Bill Weasley, is the son of Brendan Gleeson, who plays Mad-Eye Moody.

The Harry Potter Movies

Dragons. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’s end credits state: No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie.

A Different Direction. Stephen Spielberg was approached to direct the first Harry Potter film, but he wanted to create an animated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which didn’t align with what the rest of the team envisioned. Spielberg also wanted to cast Haley Joel Osment as Harry Potter 

The Flying Ford Anglia. Filmmakers went through 14 blue Ford Anglia cars during the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when they were making the scene where Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow. One of the cars was stolen from the set but was recovered a few months later.

Incendio scene where Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow.

Magic Movie Marathon.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, is the shortest of the movies at 2 hours and 10 minutes. The longest of the eight movies is Chamber of Secrets, at 2 hours and 41 minutes. If you fancied a Harry Potter movie marathon, it would take 19 hours and 40 minutes to watch all of the films. That leaves 4 hours and 20 minutes of the day for naps and snacks!

Kings Cross Station. The scenes at Platform 9 ¾ all took place at King’s Cross Station in London, but as the cast and crew were mostly muggles they couldn’t get to the iconic hidden platform, so the scenes were filmed on Platforms four and five instead.

Having a Laugh. While the cast was filming the kissing scene between the Horcrux Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hallows Part 2, Rupert Grint had to be removed from the set because he was laughing so much. 

The Seven Harrys. In Deathly Hallows Part 1, members of the Order of the Phoenix

Drank Polyjuice Potion to transform into Harry and confuse the Death Eaters. In the scene, there were seven Harry Potter’s all talking over one another and changing clothes. This one scene took over 90 takes.

On Location

Number 4 Privet Drive. The real-life location of the Dursley family home where Harry Potter lived was 12 Picket Post Close in Winkfield Row in Bracknell.

Hogwarts Castle. Exterior shots of Hogwarts Castle were filmed at Gloucester Cathedral, and some interior scenes were filmed in Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, although the Hogwarts corridors and Snape’s classroom were filmed in Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire.

Hogwarts Library.  The scenes in the beautiful Hogwarts Library are filmed at the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University.

Duke Humfrey's Library. The oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library, The Duke Humfrey’s Library made a special exception for Harry Potter and broke a rule that was in place there for centuries, allowing a naked flame into the library for filming.

Hogwarts Express. The bridge that we see the Hogwarts Express traveling across is the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland.

Incendio Hogwarts Express The bridge

Oscar nominations

12 Nominations. The Harry Potter movies have been nominated for a total of 12 Oscars, but none of them have ever won. 

Three. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was nominated for three – Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.

Two. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for two Oscars – Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Score.

One (twice). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was nominated for one Oscar, for  Best Art Direction. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was nominated for just one Oscar also, for Best Cinematography.

And Five More. The Deathly Hallows movies were nominated for five Oscars between them, with Deathly Hallows Part 1 being nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects, and the final film, Deathly Hallows Part 2 being nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects.


Incendio. The Incendio charm produces fire. This is probably the spell that Hagrid performed with his pink umbrella to light the fire in the shack when he found Harry in the Philosopher’s Stone. 

You can cast Incendio with these beautifully crafted Incendio fire-shooting wands!

Obliviate. This charm erases memories. Obliviate is the spell that Hermione used to mess with her parents' memories so that they would not have any recollection of their daughter's existence. She also made them think that their names were different and sent them to live in Australia. 

Sectumsempra. The lacerating curse invented by Severus Snape was found in his old potions book by Harry Potter. Harry used it on Draco Malfoy without knowing what it did and severely injured him.   

Brackium Emendo. This spell mends broken bones. Unfortunately for Harry, Gilderoy Lockhart was not very good at it, and when Harry broke his arm Lockhart used Brackium Emendo badly and removed all the bones from his arm instead of mending them. 

Episkey. This charm is used to heal minor injuries. Luna Lovegood used it to heal Harry’s broken nose after Draco Malfoy broke it. 

Geminio. The Geminio charm is used to cause objects to multiply indefinitely. This is used in the Lestrange Gringotts vault, and it is the reason that Helga Hufflepuff’s goblet kept duplicating. 

Inflatus. This is the jinx that caused Aunt Marge to puff up and float away. 

Slugulus Eructo. The spell that backfired on Ron in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, causing him to belch up slugs.

Learn more about spells here.

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