JK Rowling famously created Harry Potter and the whole Wizarding World when she released her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in 1997. She took the world by storm and sparked the imaginations of millions of people around the world, inspiring a magical movie franchise, broadway shows, theme parks, studio tours and even video games based on her work. Although she has somewhat stepped into the shadows as of late (after being cancelled for her controversial views on transgender individuals), the British author and philanthropist has still had a lasting impact on pop culture history.
Over 25 years later, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise continues to impact modern media — with new books, TV shows and video games (like Hogwarts Legacy) on the way. In fact, it’s hard to believe that it has already been more than two decades since the release of the first movie in 2001. Of course, after 7 books, which have sold over 500 million copies, and been translated into over 80 languages, it would be impossible for JK Rowling to look back at her body of work on Harry Potter and not have some regrets. In fact, over the years, the children’s fantasy author has voiced many of her regrets and frustrations on various platforms, including television interviews and radio podcasts.
In honour of the long-running franchise with a fandom that survives to this day, here are some shocking revelations about JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, as well as some of her regrets and apologies over the years.
During the Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion, director Chris Columbus shared that if it weren’t for his daughter, Eleanore, there never would have been a movie franchise. She forced him to read the Harry Potter books despite his refusal three times. While reading them, he had been immediately struck with inspiration, and shared, “Immediately I saw the movies, I just saw them. And that hasn’t happened since.” After finishing the Harry Potter book series, he flew to Edinburgh to meet with JK Rowling, and thank goodness he did.
2. Daniel Radcliffe’s Parents Didn’t Want Him To Be In The Movies
Chris Columbus shared that he had a relatively difficult time finding the perfect fit for Harry Potter. While finding the performers for Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley was easy enough, he had a long search for the main actor. It wasn’t until he saw Daniel Radcliff in the BBC’s version of David Copperfield that he felt he had finally found the right boy. His parents, however, were not so eager for him to audition or at the idea of signing their son onto a seven-film deal. “No that’s a huge disruption to his life!” Radcliffe remembered them saying. Luckily, they were able to be convinced and let him audition for the role, and history was made.
3. Emma Watson Wanted To Quit At One Point
Famous for playing her role as Hermione Granger flawlessly, Emma Watson recalled that at one point during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she had seriously considered quitting. Despite having been obsessed with JK Rowling’s books and getting the exact role she had been wanting to play in the Harry Potter franchise, she was incredibly overwhelmed by the whole experience.
At the Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion she had shared, “I did find a diary entry that was kind of like [disgruntled noise]. I could see that at times I was lonely”. This prompted the boys, Radcliffe and Rupert Grint who were best friends on and off screen, and Tom Felton who had his ‘lackeys’ during the Harry Potter movies, to recall how they had felt lonely as well, despite having a friend. Watson, having been a few years younger than the others, and the only girl of the main trio was completely alone. “The fame thing had finally hit home. In a big way.” However, she braved her fears and made it through all seven movies. “No one had to convince me to see it through,” she had shared, saying that the decision came from her and her alone.
Although he played one of the most iconic villains in pop culture history, Ralph Fiennes didn’t want to play the dark lord. Despite this, he did a stellar job and convincingly played one of the evilest characters, the corrupted Tom Riddle, who tries to kill Harry as an infant, orphans him, and makes it his life’s mission to defeat Harry. His name is anathema to most witches and wizards, who won’t even say it out of fear of him. To others, it seems that they have been pronouncing his name wrong for the last two decades. In 2015, JK Rowling revealed that she had meant for Harry Potter‘s Voldemort to be pronounced in French fashion with a silent T, as it means “flight of death”. So it’s meant to be pronounced ‘Voldemor’…?
5. Jason Isaacs Never Wanted To Be Lucius Malfoy
The actor behind the intimidating character shared that he had never wanted to be cast as the patriarch of the Malfoy family, but had auditioned for the role of Gildroy Lockheart. When asked why he was so against the role, he shared that as he had already played Captain Hook in the live-action version of Peter Pan, he was worried about being typecast as a villain. “I’m convinced I ended up playing Lucius because I didn’t want to. I read through gritted teeth, deeply bitter. And of course, that’s exactly what was necessary [as Lucius] and they asked me to play Lucius and thank God they did!”
6. North American Wizarding School
With the tournament events in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the movies saw the first introduction of other wizarding schools with the Triwizard Tournament, the French school of Beauxbatons, and the Scandinavian school of Durmstrang, which seemed to be all girls and all boys respectively. This left a European Harry Potter fan with three wizarding schools in their area, and the North American fans sorely lacking. Luckily, it was later revealed in both tweets from J.K. Rowling and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that there is a school for witches and wizards in North America and it was called Ilvermorny. Much like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the students of Ilvermorny are divided into four houses that they are placed in based on their personalities. Unlike at Hogwarts where the houses are named after the founders of the school, Ilvermorny houses are named after magical creatures. There are Thunderbirds for the adventurers, Pukwudgies for the healers, Horned Serpents for the scholars, and Wumpuses for the warriors.
7. Richard Harris Thought That The Phoenix Was Real
During the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Richard Harris played Dumbledore before his death, and had been fascinated by the phoenix, Fawkes, thinking that he was real, and not just created by puppeteers. The director remembered the actor’s elation when he saw the bird for the first time. “Richard came in and looked at the phoenix and said, ‘Wow, they train these animals marvellously these days.'”
Radcliffe also recalled as well how they had never told him the truth, as they didn’t want to break the spell that Harris seemed to be under when he would be happy, saying “The bird is responding to me!”
8. The ‘Golden Trio’ Struggled With Their Identities After The Movies
During the Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion, the three recalled how they had almost felt that the Harry Potter movies would be the only important thing that they ever did in their lives. Having started the movies as young as they did, they struggled to separate themselves from their characters. “I felt like I lost track of who I was and who the character was. I didn’t really know where they ended or began,” shared Rupert, and Daniel added, “I was wondering who am I? Or what do I like to do? What’s important to me?”
It was to such an extent that Rupert felt like his name was wrong. “My name didn’t feel like my name. I felt I only really knew how to do one thing. I knew how to play Ron.”
9. There Were A Lot Of Hormones Flying Around On Set
While many of the actors in the Harry Potter franchise started as children, it wasn’t long before those children turned into teenagers, and along with that came all the hormones and changes that do with any kid going through puberty. One situation that was of particular interest was between Emma Watson and Tom Felton (who plays Draco Malfoy). Emma revealed that she has always had a massive crush on Tom, even recalling the day that she fell in love with him. “I walked into the room where we were having tutoring, the assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like. And Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard and I just fell in love with him,” she had confessed. “I used to come in every day and check for his number on the call sheet and if his number was on the call sheet it was an extra exciting day.”
It seems that the feeling was mutual for Tom, but not quite in the same way. “Emma and I have always loved each other, really,” he shared, but because of the age gap between them, nothing romantic ever happened. “He was three years above me, so for him, he was like, ‘You’re like my little sister,” Emma shared, and again, Felton agreed. “I became very protective over her. Yeah, I’ve always had a soft spot for her, and that continues to the day… There’s always been something that’s like, I don’t know, a kinship.”
10. Young Witches and Wizards are Home Schooled
Many people have wondered where young witches and wizards go to school before they are enrolled at Hogwarts at age 11. JK Rowling revealed in an interview with Time that young wizarding children in Harry Potter have to be homeschooled because they often can’t control their magic and would end up revealing themselves to Muggles by mistake if they were allowed to go to normal schools. This makes sense as to why wizarding children and Muggle children don’t seem to mingle very well.
11. JK Rowling Regrets Hermione and Ron’s Relationship
Throughout the making of the Harry Potter series, everyone was making their assumptions about who will end up with whom, especially between Ron, Hermione, and Harry. While the three were best friends throughout the books and movies, it’s undeniable that there was always some chemistry between Hermione and each of the boys. Towards the end of the book series, all fans were divided over whom the brainy girl would end up with, and due to their fiery friendship, she ended up with Ron, and Harry ended up with his best friend’s little sister, Ginny Weasley. JK Rowling later shared that she wished she had done it differently and that Hermione Granger had ended up with Harry Potter.
It seems that JK Rowling has made a bit of a tradition for herself by going onto Twitter each year to apologize for the gruesome and cruel ways in which she killed off some of the internet’s favourite Harry Potter characters. One of the things that she apologized for was how she offed one of the Weasley twins. He was killed during an explosion at the Battle of Hogwarts. As if his death wasn’t stinging enough, the description of his death was what hurt. “Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.”
Another death that she ended up apologizing for was that of Remus Lupin – a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor that turned out to be a werewolf during the events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where his furry friend Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, and an Animagus, helps him. Remus also died during the events of the Battle of Hogwarts, but what made his death, especially heart-wrenching was that he died shortly after his wife, Nymphadora Tonks (another animagus), leaving their newborn son, Teddy, orphaned. Rowling had this to say about the death of the werewolf, “In the interests of total honesty I’d like to confess that I didn’t decide to kill Lupin until I wrote Order of the Phoenix. Arthur lived, so Lupin had to die. I’m sorry. I didn’t enjoy doing it. The only time my editor ever saw me cry was over the fate of Teddy.”
One of the most impactful deaths that Rowling addressed in a tribute in 2018 was that of Dobby the House Elf. Now that was a character that had a pretty intense character arc. In a single movie, he started as an annoying pest trying to stop Harry from getting to Hogwarts in The Chamber of Secrets and ended up as a sweet little scamp who just wanted to be free. While Harry devised a way to free him, he never actually got the opportunity to be free. While trying to rescue Harry and Griphook from the Death Eaters, he was attacked and stabbed by Bellatrix Lestrange (played by Helena Bonham Carter), and yet still managed to save them. In yet another tear-jerking moment, Harry digs the grave for Dobby by hand, inscribing it with the words, “Here lies Dobby, a free elf.” When addressing it, Rowling acknowledged that he laid down his life to save the people who would win the #BattleofHogwarts, possibly implying that the victory wouldn’t have been possible without his sacrifice.
The last death that will be mentioned here is one that Rowling regrets because it seems so senseless. Florean Fortescue is a random shopkeeper in Diagon Alley that gives Harry a few scoops of ice cream. He then disappears because he is kidnapped and killed. Although he was originally meant to have played a massive role in the story, she later admitted “All in all, I seemed to have had him kidnapped and killed for no reason.” Florean Fortescue was meant to have been a direct descendant of a former Headmaster of Hogwarts, Dexter Fortescue. “I originally planned Florean to be the conduit for clues that I needed to give Harry during his quest for the Hallows,” Rowling revealed, before realizing that she had made her character rather redundant because of Phineas Nigellus Black and the Grey Lady. “He is not the first wizard whom Voldemort murdered because he knew too much (or too little), but he is the only one I feel guilty about, because it was all my fault.”
After two decades, it makes sense that there would be very few secrets left to be discovered about a cast and characters, so it’s awesome that we have access to all these inner thoughts that have never really been shared before, both the good and the bad. And it also makes sense that JK Rowling might have some things that she regrets about Harry Potter after all these years, especially now that she has come under serious fire and been ‘cancelled’ for her controversial views.
13. Is Harry Potter Part of the Marvel Universe?
Harry Potter and Marvel are two of the most successful and popular franchises in the world. JK Rowling’s series of books chronicle the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they navigate life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc focuses on Harry’s struggle against the evil Lord Voldemort. Marvel Comics is known for creating Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Spider-Man and The X-Men, whose storylines are often intricately weaved together for optimum awesomeness. But Marvel took their legendary crossovers to a new level with a cameo from Harry and his friends in the Excalibur series.
The comic opens with Juggernaut racing through the streets London, unintentionally smashing into vehicles as he tries to track down the evil X-Men. After turning into an alleyway, Cain Marko almost runs into a group of kids. While there hasn’t been official confirmation about the identities of the trio, the dialogue from the scene makes it pretty clear.
“After almost being run over, the girl grabs the shoulder of the dark-haired boy and yells, “Harry!”
“What was that?!” says the character that appears to be Ron.
“Dunno, but I’m glad it’s not after us,” Harry said.
Furthermore, the kids are in London and they look exactly like their book/movie counterparts. So there’s little doubt that they are supposed to be Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It’s also worth noting that the cameo takes place in New Excalibur #3 which was released in the midst of the Harry Potter movie craze.
Could this cameo mean that a version of Hogwarts exists within the Marvel Universe? Technically, Marvel does have its own school for gifted students, but maybe there’s a school for wizards and witches too?
What interesting details do you know about JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise?