Did you know that Harry Potter’s Professor Trelawney might never have been the Professor of Divination at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry?
Have you ever wondered who might have filled that role instead?
Well, now you can see for yourself because JK Rowling’s original hand-written notes (compiled when she was putting pen to paper on her Harry Potter novels) are going on display at the British Library as part of the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition.
One note reveals that Rowling had thought about naming Harry and Ron’s Divination professor Enid Pettigrew, a name we now associate with the infamous Peter Pettigrew. Fans will remember that Pettigrew was chosen to be James and Lily Potter’s secret keeper and ultimately betrayed his best friends to Lord Voldemort.
While Rowling seemed pretty sure about the majority of her teaching staff’s names, coming up with a title for the Divination professor seems to have taken a little longer. The surname Mopsus was also considered before she eventually settled on Sybill Trelawney.
The same hand-written note also features another name we have yet to encounter in the Potterverse – Oakden Hernshaw. It appears as though he was destined to pop up in Rowling’s fifth novel, Order of The Phoenix. Another Oakden, Oakden Hobday, was originally considered a potential name for the professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts in the same novel, so perhaps Oakden Hernshaw was considered for the role – ultimately filled by Dolores Umbridge – instead.
And it seems as though Professor Hernshaw and Hobday had some stiff competition from Mylor Silvanus, another name that didn’t quite make the final draft.
Rowling’s notes are among a collection of items on display at the British Library to celebrate 20 years since the publication of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Other exhibits include the first synopsis of the books which the author sent out to publishers, plus her early sketches of the Dursleys and the layout of the Forbidden Forest.
The Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition will run from 20th October 2017 until 28th February 2018, and feature ancient texts and artworks that fit into Harry Potter lore, along with manuscripts and personal objects donated by Rowling.
She’s particularly excited about one item in the exhibition – a gravestone bearing the name Nicolas Flamel.