Today is the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling’s first book in the Harry Potter series (which, as of June 2011, has sold over 450 million copies, making it the best-selling series of all-time).
In honour of this, frankly, magical occasion, we’ve compiled 15 facts about H.P. and co that you never knew, 15 of our favourite lines from the seven books, and 15 pieces of random trivia. In short, Potter geeks, welcome to heaven.
15 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT HARRY POTTER…
1. Harry shares the same birthday as his creator, J.K. Rowling. Both were born on the 31st of July (J.K. in 1966 and Harry in 1980).
2. In The Chamber of Secrets, it’s revealed that a painting of Gandalf the Grey – he of Lord of the Rings fame – hangs on Dumbledore’s office wall. Our minds are blown.
3. The school motto of Hogwarts? Draco domiens nunquam titllandus. (Oh, you don’t speak Latin? It translates as ‘Never tickle a sleeping dragon.’)
4. J.K. Rowling’s favourite animal is the otter – which, coincidentally, is the form Hermoine’s Patronus takes…
5. …Even more coincidental is the form that Ron Weasley’s Patronus takes – the form of a Jack Russell. Jack Russells are known for chasing otters.
6. Remember the Knight Bus? The driver and conductor, Ernie and Stan, were both named after Rowling’s own grandfathers.
7. The books have been translated into 67 languages, including Afrikaans, Urdu and Welsh. Philosopher’s Stone was also translated into Latin and Ancient Greek – it was one of the longest Ancient Greek works to be printed since the 3rd century.
8. Werewolf-inclined hero Remus Lupin’s name can be rearranged to spell ‘primus lune’, which is the Latin for ‘full moon’. Fitting, that…
9. The film adaptations boast a huge cast of Hollywood stars, including: Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Imelda Staunton, Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham-Carter and John Cleese. Future Twilight star Robert Pattinson has also appeared in the cult series; he played the doomed Cedric Diggory.
10. Rupert Grint has described Ron Weasley as ‘my hero. He’s always there for his friends – sometimes belligerently, but there nevertheless. He’s also the comic relief in stressful situations; the funny guy with a great one-liner. And no matter how scared he may be, he will put aside his fears to support and protect the people he loves. To me, that represents true courage.’ Emma Watson, meanwhile, has described Hermoine Granger as ‘so close to who I am as a person that I’ve never really had to research a role’.
11. During the filming of series, Daniel Radcliffe used somewhere between 60-70 wands.
12. The Hogwarts Express is really called Olton Hall, and it made its first journey in 1937.
13. J.K. Rowling was given the chance to guest-star in a Christmas special of Doctor Who in 2008 but, reportedly, the then-Doctor, David Tennant, was left unimpressed by the idea and it was scrapped. Prior to this, Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies had described the episode as: “A world of Victorian magic replaces the present-day world. The Doctor arrives and has to battle through a world of witches and wizards, with wands and spells, to reach JK Rowling at the heart of it all.”
14. At the end of the last film – set 19 years in the future – Draco’s wife Astoria Greengrass is played by Tom Felton’s real-life girlfriend, Jade Gordon.
15. Who needs email when you have owls to send your messages? Of the numerous owls in the books and films, the five with names are: Hedwig (Harry’s trusty snowy owl), Errol (the Weasley family’s rather elderly messenger), Hermes (Percy Weasley’s Western Screech Owl), Pigwidgeon (Ron Weasley’s pet, aka ‘Pig’) and Brodwin (who belongs to the unnamed Muggle Prime Minister).
15 OF OUR FAVOURITE QUOTES FROM HARRY POTTER…
1. Albus Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Prisoner Of Azkaban)
2. Hermoine Granger: “I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed – or worse, expelled.” (Philosopher’s Stone)
3. Sirius Black: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” (Goblet Of Fire)
4. Dumbledore: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” (Philosopher’s Stone)
5. Ron Weasley: “Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.” (Chamber Of Secrets)
6. Ginny Weasley: “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” (Order Of The Phoenix)
7. Dumbledore: “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.” (Deathly Hallows)
8. Sirius Black “If you made a better rat than a human Peter, that’s not much to boast about.” (Prisoner Of Azakaban)
9. Severus Snape: “Harry Potter, our new celebrity… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.” (Philosopher’s Stone)
10. Harry Potter: “I never wanted any of you to die for me.” (Deathly Hallows)
11. Arthur Weasley: “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” (Chamber Of Secrets)
12. Dumbledore: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (Deathly Hallows)
13. Harry: “I don’t know who Maxime thinks she’s kidding. If Hagrid’s half-giant, she definitely is. Big bones… the only thing that’s got bigger bones than her is a dinosaur.” (Goblet Of Fire)
14. Hagrid: “If anyone wanted ter find out some stuff, all they’d have ter do would be ter follow the spiders. That’d lead ’em right! That’s all I’m sayin’.” (Chamber Of Secrets)
15. Professor McGonagall: “Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world.” (Half-Blood Prince)
FIVE FAVOURITE SPELLS…
1. Aguamenti! (aguamenti charm) – makes a jet of water cascade out of the spell-caster’s wand.
2. Sonorus! – amplifies the speaker’s voice. Particularly useful if you’re commentating during a Quidditch match…
3. Orchiedous! – makes a bunch of flowers sprout from the spell-caster’s wand.
4.Waddiwasi! – used to send small objects flying through the air.
5. Glisseo! – causes staircases to flatten and turn into ramps.
FIVE FAVOURITE MAGICAL CREATURES…
1. Norbert – later revealed to actually be Norberta. Norweigan Ridgeback dragon who Hagrid purchased as an egg from a shady salesman in the pub. Later sent to live with Ron’s brother, Charlie, who’s studying dragons in Romania.
2. Dobby – house-elf and loyal friend of Harry’s, whose first and last words in the books are “Harry Potter…”
3. Fluffy – Hagrid’s three-headed, doorway-guarding pet dog, partial to a spot of classical music…
4. Crookshanks – Hermoine’s squashed-face cat who first suspects that something is amiss with Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers…
5. Fawkes – Dumbledore’s faithful phoenix, who’s always on-hand to save the day.
FIVE FAVOURITE MAGICAL BADDIES…
1. Lord Voldemort. The number one Harry Potter villain. Spent the duration of the first book carried around underneath Professor Quirrell’s turban, and plotted and planned to finish off Harry once and for all for the rest of the series.
2. Draco Malfoy – platinum-haired Hogwarts student with a penchant for sluggy spells, who finds himself tangled up rather deeper than he’d like in Voldemort’s plans.
3. Peter Pettigrew – believed to be dead until it was revealed that he had disguised himself as Ron Weasley’s pet rat. Lord Voldemort’s most faithful servant…
4. Snape – baddie, then maybe goodie, then baddie, then maybe goodie, then baddie, then finally goodie… Despite his cruel tongue and tendency to deduct 10 housepoints from Gryffindor, Snape was eventually revealed to actually be one of the good guys.
5. Bellatrix Lestrange – she murdered Sirius. That. Is. All.
And with all that in mind, we’re now going to spend the rest of the weekend watching all the films. Wizard.