Chapter 36 of The Goblet of Fire is titled “The Parting of the Ways” and features the demise of Barty Crouch Jr at the hands of a dementor. In the films, Barty was played by David Tennant, best known to many as the Tenth Doctor. Fans first caught a glimpse of his Time Lord in a Doctor Who episode titled… “The Parting of the Ways”. Coincidence?
The entrance to the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts has a “griffin knocker” for visitors to signal their arrival which means Professor Dumbledore quite literally has a Griffin Door to match the house he belongs to.
Oliver and James Phelps – who played Fred and George Weasley – weren’t the only siblings to appear in the Harry Potter films. Emma Thompson portrayed Professor Trelawney in The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 but her sister Sophie Thompson also appeared in the films, playing Ministry of Magic employee Mafalda Hopkirk whom Hermione impersonated with a little help from some Polyjuice Potion. Sophie appears in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 after taking over the role from Jessica Hynes who voiced Mafalda in The Order of the Phoenix.
The driver and conductor of the Knight Bus are called Ernest Prang and Stanley Shunpike. JK Rowling named them after her two grandfathers – Ernie Rowling and Stanley Volant.
In the first book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – Rowling writes: “The Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.” Fred and George were literally hitting Voldemort in the face!
The first Harry Potter book was published in America in 1998 – the same year as the final battle at Hogwarts took place in the last book. Professor Dumbledore put enchanted writing on the golden snitch he left Harry which read “I open at the close”. For some fans, the first book was opened just as the Wizarding War was coming to a close.
Remember the first ride Harry, Ron and Hermione ever took together on the Hogwarts Express? Harry splashes his cash on some treats from the trolley and a chocolate frog escapes and jumps out the window? Well, there’s some lovely symmetry in one of the final scenes in the last film – The Deathly Hallows Part 2.
As Harry, Ron and Hermione’s children head to Hogwarts, look what hops through the open window…
JK Rowling first made Harry Potter fans fully aware of Sirius Black in the third book – The Prisoner of Azkaban – but did you know she slipped in a mention of Harry’s godfather as early as the first chapter of the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone. When Hagrid meets Dumbledore on the Dursleys’ doorstep to drop off baby Harry shortly after his parents’ death, the professor asks him where he got the motorbike he travelled on. “‘Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,’ said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorbike as he spoke. ‘Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.'”
Dobby gets surprisingly little screen time for such a major character in Rowling’s books. He only features in The Chamber of Secrets and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, but eagle-eyed fans believe he makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in The Goblet of Fire during the Quidditch World Cup. As Hermione and Ginny stroll through the crowds, a couple of house elves on llamas pass by. Look closer and you’ll see they bear a striking resemblance to Dobby and Winky. What do you think?
Likewise, fans have long speculated whether Lord Voldemort’s portrait is among those hanging on the walls of Hogwarts. It seems unlikely but this fleeting shot in The Prisoner of Azkaban captures a bald, pale wizard dressed in flowing black robes hanging on the right of the staircase. If it’s Voldemort, it marks the first time the Dark Lord appears in his true form – he doesn’t come face-to-face with Harry until the end of The Goblet of Fire.
“Tom Marvolo Riddle” is an anagram of “I am Lord Voldemort” – it’s just one example of Rowling’s many clever word plays throughout her series of books. But spare a thought for the poor translators who had to invent new names for Harry’s nemesis in order for this nifty anagram to work. In French, the Dark Lord is known as Tom Elvis Jedusor (which rearranges to spell “Je suis Voldemort”), in German he’s Tom Vorlost Riddle (“Ist Lord Voldemort”) and in Spanish he goes by the name of Tom Sorvolo Rvddle (“Soy Lord Voldemort”).
When Mr Weasley escorts Harry to his hearing at the Ministry of Magic, he types in a special number in at the visitors’ entrance – an old-fashioned telephone box – to gain admission. The number? “six . . . two . . . four . . . and another four . . . and another two . . .” Try typing that into your phone keypad and you’ll see it spells out… “MAGIC”. Bravo, JK Rowling.