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Books

General Trivia:

  • Harry names his kid Albus Severus in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This had originally been taken as proof that scans that appeared online before the book was released were fake.
  • Dumbledore is an old Devon word for bumblebee. JK chose it because she liked the idea of him humming to himself all the time.
  • Hermione's surname was originally Puckle. She was planned to have a younger sister, until Rowling realized it was a bit too late to start mentioning her.
    • Furthermore, the Potters originally lived on an island close to where the Puckles did. In this version of the story, Hermione's father was the one who pulled Harry out of the wreckage of his parents' house.
  • At King's Cross, there is a false archway labeled "Platform Nine and Three Quarters" kept well away from the actual platforms -- complete with the rear end of a luggage trolley protruding from the brickwork.
    • In fact, the description that Rowling gives of the barrier between the platforms doesn't sound anything like what currently exists at King's Cross, for the very good reason that she was thinking of nearby Euston station when she wrote it, and only discovered her mistake later. It's not even correct at Euston; at both stations, there are train tracks between platforms nine and ten. However Euston, rather than King's Cross, is generally the station to travel from for Scotland and the North.
  • Rowling considered giving Dudley a Muggle-born wizard child for the epilogue, but in the end decided that no wizarding traits would ever survive contact with Uncle Vernon's DNA. Shame, that would have been a lovely little twist.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart is based on an actual former acquaintance of JKR's. She doesn't believe he'll ever realize it's him.
  • If you read between the lines, Lupin drinks from a silver goblet in the fifth chapter of Order of the Phoenix.
  • Ginny and Harry's roles in Chamber of Secrets are reversed in Half-Blood Prince. First there's the Unrequited Love Switcheroo and then there's the fact that in the respective installments both are seduced by an evil book which they dispose of (or at least try to) after association with it causes them to endanger one or more people.
    • There are a lot of other parallels with books that are mirrors of each other, given book 4 as the centre--3 and 5 both focus a lot on the Marauders and Dementors, 2 and 6 focus on Voldemort's past, and 1 and 7 have a lot of focus on the night Harry's parents died.
  • Dean Thomas was originally going to be Ron's cousin, and would've fulfilled much of the role that eventually went to Neville Longbottom.
    • Also, Word of God revealed that Dean is a half-blood, whose father was killed for refusing to join the Death Eaters. His Muggle stepfather adopted him, explaining why Dean believes himself to be Muggle-born.
  • Pansy Parkinson was based on girls who used to bully JKR in school.
  • The core of the Elder Wand is the tail hair of a thestral.
  • Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban are the only books in which Everybody Lives. (Unless you count the basilisk; then it would just be Azkaban.)

Specific Tropes:


Films

General Trivia:

  • Harry Melling, the actor who played Dudley in the films, is the grandson of Patrick Troughton.
  • If you were to watch the theatrical cuts of all eight Harry Potter films back-to-back, it would take nineteen hours and thirty-eight minutes. The extended cuts would add twenty minutes to that, which is with released extended cuts existing for only the first two movies.
  • Fun facts about the four Harry Potter directors, Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates:
    • One is American (Columbus), one is Mexican (Cuarón), and two are British (Newell and Yates).
    • The order they directed the films in is the same order their names would be listed in if organized in alphabetical order by last name.
    • Newell (born 1942) is the oldest person to direct a Harry Potter movie, being sixty-three when he directed Goblet in 2005. Although Yates has the most recent birthdate of all the directors (1963), the record for directing a Potter film at the youngest age is a tie between Columbus (born 1958 and directed Stone in 2001, making him forty-three) and Cuarón (born 1961 and directed Azkaban in 2004, also making him forty-three), whereas Yates was forty-four when he directed Phoenix in 2007. J. K. Rowling is younger than all the directors, being born in 1965.
    • Columbus and Yates are the only people to direct more than one Potter film, with Columbus directing two of them and Yates directing four of them. As such, Yates has directed the entire second half of the series.
  • Azkaban is the only movie in which the title doesn't appear over a cloud background (the title did appear over the customary cloud background in the trailers, but not in the actual movie). Out of the ones with cloud backgrounds, Chamber is the only one in which it's not a stormy cloud backgrounds. Stone and Prince are the only ones which include lightning in the cloud background. Chamber and Phoenix are the only films in which no scene takes place between the appearance of the Warner Bros. logo and the title.
  • The Deathly Hallows films don't really divide the book in half. More accurately, Part 1 covers about two thirds of the book and Part 2 about one third.
  • After Deathly Hallows came out, it was revealed that Alan Rickman (who plays Professor Snape) had had a conversation with J. K. Rowling about his character while filming Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone, and was the only other person besides Rowling who knew that Snape had been in love with Harry's mother. He based his entire performance off this conversation. (He was also JKR's personal favorite to play Snape.)
  • Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is the most financially successful Potter film, being the only one to pass the billion dollar mark. The least financially successful was Prisoner of Azkaban, which is "only" the thirty-second highest grossing film of all time. Hallows: Part 2 is also the most critically successful entry in the series (96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) while Order of the Phoenix was the least critically successful (78% rating).
  • The two halves of Deathly Hallows were written and filmed as one giant four-hour film. It was worked out in editing where to put the break between Part 1 and Part 2. Originally, the break was tentatively planned to occur after the Trio is captured by the Snatchers, but it got moved to after Voldemort recovers the Elder Wand. This means the battle at Malfoy Manor was originally intended as the beginning of Part 2, but instead became the end of Part 1.
  • Warwick Davis has played two characters within one film twice in the series -- in the very first movie and in the very last movie. In both cases, he played Flitwick and a Gringotts goblin.
  • The Closing Credits throughout the series:
    • First two films: The credits are plain white words on a black background. The starting music is "Harry's Wondrous World", which is not heard in subsequent films, either in the credits or elsewhere. The second film is the only movie in the series to have a scene after the credits.
    • Third film: First film in the series to use Creative Closing Credits, which in this case is an animation of the Marauder's Map. The music is a Credits Medley, titled "Mischief Managed!" on the movie soundtrack.
    • Fourth film: The credits appear on pieces of paper, resembling the scraps of paper thrown into the Goblet of Fire. Another Credits Medley, which opens with a Rearrange the Song version of "Hedwig's Theme". The credits track is not on the official soundtrack, which remains the case for the rest of the series.
    • Fifth film: The words appear on a parchment-like background in the same typeface as Umbridge's proclamations. The music is another Credits Medley, opening with part of "Dumbledore's Army".
    • Sixth film: The words form out of ink-like clouds the way images in the Pensieve do. The music opens with "Fireworks", which was composed for the previous film. Last film to use Creative Closing Credits.
    • Seventh film: A plain black background is used for the first time since the second film, but with the words being golden and metallic-looking. The music is "Obliviate".
    • Eighth film: Same as the seventh film. The opening music is an unaltered version of "Hedwig's Theme".
  • Voldemort's headquarters during the Battle of Hogwarts got changed from the Shrieking Shack to the boat house because Stuart Craig wanted to get to show the interior of the boat house at least once in the series.
  • The first line of the first movie and the last line of the last movie were both spoken by someone named "Albus":

 Albus Dumbledore: I should have known that you would be here... Professor McGonagall.

Albus Potter: [after Harry asks "Ready?"] Ready.

Hey, It's That Guy! examples:

Specific Tropes:

  • Contractual Purity:
    • Daniel Radcliffe invoked a wave of moral outrage when he appeared on London's West End as Alan Strang in a production of Equus. It's an incredible (albeit disturbing) role that any actor would be insane to turn down the chance to play. The Moral Guardians, however, only saw Naked!Harry Potter - which is probably what the production company was banking on, anyway.
    • There was some uproar about Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour) appearing topless in a French movie, even though it was before she was even cast in the film.
    • Emma Watson has let it be known that she's willing to do nudity in other films, which means it's just a matter of time before the Moral Guardians scream about Hermione Granger showing her dirty pillows in some movie or another. Watson has also berated by Moral Guardians for the shocking crimes of… going to a nightclub and drinking. There's also a Paris Hiltonesque crotch shot, which those guardians must been specifically looking for in order to find it.
    • Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe) got this in 2009 after being arrested for possession of marijuana, even though Crabbe isn't a particularly "wholesome" character to start with. Worse still, Crabbe was written out of the last two films because of this. Insanity, especially because Crabbe dies in the book. In the films, Goyle dies instead of Crabbe.
    • On the other side, it seems pretty much no one cares that Rupert Grint acted in Cherrybomb, playing a character who does drugs and steals cars. Then again, he's a bad guy who's supposed to do bad things.
    • Harry Melling, who plays Dudley, has lost a huge amount of weight over the years (to the point of having to wear a fat suit for the final movie) and is barely recognizable from his younger self. He's publicly stated he is happy about this so he can avoid this issue in his adult career as an actor.
  • Fake Brit: Almost averted, by fiat of Rowling herself. The cast is from the UK, with a few Irish actors such as the original Dumbledore, Richard Harris, Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, and Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood (who is presumed British, though Lynch uses her natural accent).
    • A few slight examples: In the first film, the goblin Griphook was played by American Verne Troyer, but his voice was dubbed over by Warwick Davis. And Chris Columbus cast his daughter Eleanor in the non-speaking role of Susan Bones.
    • Irishman Jim Norton as Mr Mason at the start of Chamber of Secrets is another minor example.
  • Fake Irish: In a strange example, Rhys Ifans (who is Welsh) played Xenophilius Lovegood with an noticable Irish accent to fit in better with his on-screen daughter Luna Lovegood (who is played by Irish actress Evanna Lynch).
    • And even stranger, and rarely acknowledged, example is Michael Gambon, who admitted right off the bat to adopting a slight Irish accent in honour of his predecessor - it's only obvious at certain times, such as when he loses his cool with Harry in Goblet of Fire, but it does give the impression that Dumbledore was born and raised in Ireland, or at least spent enough time there when he was young to pick up the accent and retain traces of it for a full century.
  • Promoted Fans:
    • Evanna Lynch. She made her own radish earrings!
    • Rupert Grint, as he had an obsession over being Ron once he realized how many similarities he had to the character.
  • Romance on the Set:
    • Tom Felton and his girlfriend Jade Olivia. She was a stunt assistant on the series and after they began dating, she was cast as Draco's wife in a case of Actor Allusion.
    • Bonnie Wright and Jamie Campbell-Bower (who plays young Grindelwald), now engaged.
  • So My Kids Can Watch:
    • Both the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon took the role of Dumbledore at the insistence of their grandchildren. Also Gary Oldman, especially since almost his entire career consists of him playing murderous psychopaths.
    • The line "my children/younger relatives begged me to take the part" and/or "my children/younger relatives would never forgive me if I refused the role" shows up with distressing regularity in cast interviews.
  • Throw It In: The initial concept for Lucius Malfoy was of a man with short blond hair and a pinstriped suit. Jason Isaacs argued that Malfoy, being a wizard supremacist, would want to look as different from a Muggle as possible. He put on a blond wig and velvet cloak and suggested a cane for grand gestures, leading to the now-iconic Lucius Malfoy look.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, when Harry and Ron are disguised as Draco's minions, Harry forgets to take off his glasses. Draco points them out and Harry says he was just doing some reading. Draco's response ("I didn't know you could read") was an ad-lib by Tom Felton.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, the bit with Harry going "Don't worry, I will be" was Daniel Radcliffe deliberately channeling another Harry.
  • What Could Have Been: The adult casting for each film:
    • Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone
      • Sean Connery was offered the role of Dumbledore, but turned it down because he's not a fan of the fantasy genre[1]. Patrick McGoohan was also considered, before Richard Harris was cast.
      • Tim Roth was cast as Snape, but ultimately dropped out to play General Thade in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes[2]. Talk about a bad career choice...
      • Legilimens would explain Cal Lightman's abilities...
      • Rik Mayall had a role in the first film playing prankster poltergeist Peeves, but it ended up on the cutting room floor, never to be seen again.
      • David Thewlis, who would eventually play Lupin, originally auditioned for the part of Professor Quirrell.
      • Terry Gilliam was handpicked by Rowling to direct, but he was quickly replaced by Chris Columbus after butting heads with the Warner Brothers.
    • Chamber of Secrets
      • Hugh Grant was cast as Gilderoy Lockhart, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
    • Prisoner of Azkaban
      • After the death of Richard Harris, Richard Attenborough, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, and Peter O'Toole[3] were each considered for the part of Dumbledore.
      • Tilda Swinton (best known as Jadis the White Witch) auditioned for the part of Professor Trewlaney.
      • Kenneth Branagh (who had previously played Professor Lockhart) was offered the director's chair.
    • Goblet of Fire
      • John Malkovich and Rowan Atkinson were possible choices for Lord Voldemort.
      • Rosamund Pike was the first one offered the role of Rita Skeeter, but she said no.
      • Ray Winstone and Billy "Il Duce" Connolly were both offered the part of "Mad-Eye" Moody.
    • Order of the Phoenix
      • Helen McCrory was originally cast as Bellatrix Lestrange, but had to drop out shortly before shooting began after discovering she was pregnant, and was replaced by Helena Bonham Carter. She was later cast as Narcissa Malfoy in Half-Blood Prince. Ironically, shortly before shooting began on Half-Blood Prince, Carter also learned that she was pregnant[4].
      • Anna Friel, David Thewlis' long-time girlfriend, lobbied hard for the part of Nymphadora Tonks.
    • Half-Blood Prince
      • Bob Hoskins was nearly cast as Horace Slughorn.
      • Naomi Watts was rumored to have been cast as Narcissa Malfoy, but was later revealed that she had never even been considered.
    • Deathly Hallows
      • John Williams was supposed to come back to compose the score, but scheduling conflicts prevented that.
      • The role of Helena Ravenclaw was originally going to be offered to Kate Winslet, but her agent shot it down before it even got to her.
    • The idea of splitting "Goblet of Fire" into two films was given very brief but very serious consideration.
  • Word of Saint Paul: The last film suggests a romance (or at least a pair of reciprocal one-sided crushes) between Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, which is a widely fanon supported couple, but not one that happens in canon. Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville, asserted the two had a brief fling, but ended up marrying their canonical partners.

Notes

  1. This is mentioned in an installment of Saturday Night Live's Celebrity Jeopardy! with the SNL version of Connery claiming he turned down Harry Potter just for the chance to harass Trebek again.
  2. The same film also includes future Potter cast member Helena Bonham Carter. And when Apes was a Development Hell, Chris Columbus was at one point attached to direct.
  3. Who actually received the blessings of Harris' family
  4. You'll notice that Bellatrix is wearing looser robes in HBP, as opposed to the form-fitting ones of OOTP.
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