Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Harry Potter
Maybe you remember the first time you read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or the first time you were bewitched by the adventurous of the wizard and his two best friends. Maybe you consider yourself an honorary wizard, a collector of the books, an aficionado of the movies, or Harry Potter trivia nights more beloved than your favorite holiday. But do you Potterheads know the following seven facts? Read on to find out!
1. A lover’s quarrel inspired J.K. Rowling to create Quidditch.
The fictional sport, which has spurred real-life leagues worldwide, was inspired by conflict of the non-athletic variety. After an argument with her then- (and presumably ex-) boyfriend, the Harry Potter creator felt inspired to create the broomstick sport, a pastime held dear in the hearts of wizards and aspiring wizards. The sport, born in a Manchester hotel room, was designed out of frustration. We wonder what the boyfriend in question has to say about this…
2. The actress who portrayed the teenage Moaning Myrtle was actually 37 years old.
Grocery-shopping, mortgage-paying adults have been portraying teenagers on screen for decades (see: any melodramatic teen show on television), but did you know the actress playing the ghostly witch was almost 40? Shirley Henderson was 37 when she appeared in the first film, but we will forever associate her with her role as the 14-year-old spirit stalking a school lavatory.
3. Posting Deathly Hallows spoilers led to one teenager’s 2007 arrest.
In 2007 a teenager in France allegedly took matters into his own hands when he grew tired of waiting for the novel’s French version, translating the 7th edition of the Harry Potter series and posting it online weeks before the official French edition was scheduled for release. The book was spoiled for some unfortunate readers, a fate as horrible as a dementor’s kiss.
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was almost animated.
That’s right; you almost missed out on the live-action magic brought to us in 2001. Steven Spielberg was involved due to the initial partnership between Warner Bros and Dreamworks. However, several factors caused this deal to fall through: Spielberg wanted to consolidate several of the books into one film, a plan the Warner Bros president did not agree with. Spielberg also wanted The Sixth Sense child star Haley Joel Osment to voice the role of Harry, but J.K. Rowling wanted a British cast. Daniel Radcliffe was this close to not being the bespectacled wizard!
5. Rowling almost played Harry’s mom…
…but she declined. She was asked to portray Lily Potter in a scene in the first film, but she didn’t want to make a cameo. She was more comfortable with sitting in the writer’s chair than getting the Hollywood on-screen treatment.
6. Not all of the effects on screen were digital.
Animatronics, life-like puppets or robots, were a staple on set to make it easier for actors to pretend they were looking at something real. The Monster Book of Monsters and the Jack-in-the-Box giant from the second film, for example, were both on set. These creatures were also used to help the film crew and animators.
7. Harry’s eyes in the movies weren’t green for a relatable reason.
Novel Harry’s eyes are green, but Radcliffe was born with baby blues. There were initially only two options: contacts or post-production color correction. However, Daniel was unable to wear the contacts (like many of us who have, for example, a very reasonable aversion to touching our eyes), and Rowling only required that Harry’s eyes were like those of his on-screen mother.
It’s been 20 years since the release of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book, but children and adults worldwide continue to love the book and film series that led to a generation of wand and cloak Halloween costumes and online quizzes that determine which house you belong to. Whether you’re a Slytherin or a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw, I’m sure there’s one thing we can all agree on: Harry Potter is and will forever be awesome.