Harry Potter fans the world over are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first instalment in the chronicles of the boy wizard. But almost a decade after JK Rowling completed the saga with the seventh book, she’s still adding more magical details to the tale.
Here are a selection of the burning questions the acclaimed author has answered since the books have been released…
1. What happened to the trio after Voldemort’s downfall?
We caught up with them 19 years after the close in the epilogue but what exactly did Harry, Ron and Hermione go on to do with their lives?
Well, as Rowling revealed back in 2007:
Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she was instrumental in greatly improving life for house-elves and their ilk. She then moved (despite her jibe to Scrimgeour) to the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement, where she was a progressive voice who ensured the eradication of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws.
Meanwhile, Harry and Ron followed different paths. The Boy Who Lived became an auror, while Ron went into business with his brother, George, running Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes – which became quite a success.
Oh, and Ginny had a wonderful Quidditch career playing for the Hollyhead Harpies before going on to become the Daily Prophet’s Quidditch Correspondent.
2. Did Luna and Neville end up together?
Nope. Many fans may have thought they were perfect for each other but Neville and Luna remained pals and went on to marry other people.
Luna followed her dreams, becoming a famous wizarding naturalist and tracking down magical creatures around the world before tying the knot with Newt Scamander’s grandson Rolf – a fitting pairing, if ever there was one.
Neville, meanwhile, married fellow Hogwarts student Hannah Abbott. And she went on to become landlady of The Leaky Cauldron.
3. Did Harry, Ron and Hermione ever finish their schooling?
Leaving Hogwarts before finishing their NEWTs left Harry, Ron and Hermione without all their wizarding qualifications, though we’re sure defeating the Dark Lord doesn’t look bad on a magical CV.
Rowling has since revealed that Hermione, ever the studious member of the trio, did return to Hogwarts to do her NEWTs, but Ron and Harry didn’t.
Ron was really done with schooling. It would be kind of tempting to go back just to mess around for a year and have a break, but he goes into the Auror department. He’s needed. Anyone. Anyone who was in that battle on the right side, Kingsley would want them to help clean up the– I mean, anyone who’s old enough to do it, who’s over-age. But Kingsley would’ve wanted Ron, Neville, Harry and they would’ve all gone, and they would’ve all done the job.
4. What happened to Neville’s mum and dad?
Sadly, they stayed in St Mungo’s. In Rowling’s own words:
“I know people really wanted some hope for that, and I can quite see why because, in a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s parents. The damage that is done, in some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”
5. What about Hermione’s parents?
Don’t worry, she went back for them and undid the charm that made them forget who they were.
Rowling said she “brought them home straight away”.
6. Whose murders did Voldemort use to create the Horcruxes?
The author cleared that one up once and for all:
The diary was, of course, created after Moaning Myrtle’s murder, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup became one courtesy of previous owner Hepzibah Smith’s death, and the locket was created after he murdered a “Muggle tramp”.
Nagini became a horcrux after Voldermort murdered Bertha Jorkins, the Department of Magical Games and Sports employee who went missing on holiday in Albania just before the Quidditch World Cup. “Voldemort could use a wand once he regained a rudimentary body, as long as the victim was subdued”, Rowling explained.
Marvolo Gaunt’s ring became a horcrux after Voldemort murdered his father, Tom Riddle Snr., and he hid another sliver of his soul inside Ravenclaw’s diadem with the murder of an Albanian peasant.
7. Why is the scar on Harry’s forehead lightning shaped?
It must be REALLY significant, right?
Nah, JK Rowling just thought it was a cool shape. “I couldn’t have my hero sport a doughnut-shaped scar”, she said.
8. Why was Snape’s portrait missing from the headmaster’s office in Hogwarts?
“Snape had effectively abandoned his post before dying, so he had not merited inclusion in these august circles,” Rowling explained.
“However, I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape’s portrait would appear there in due course.”
9. And why did Harry name his son after him?
As if the word “always” wasn’t enough to bring any Potter fan to tears, Rowling took to Twitter to give a rather wonderful explanation for this one.
Snape died for Harry out of love for Lily. Harry paid him tribute in forgiveness and gratitude. https://t.co/MPXBgUApa3
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 27, 2015
10. Who killed Remus and Tonks?
We all sobbed when Lupin and his lovely wife were cut down during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son Teddy to be raised an orphan – just like Harry.
Who was responsible for their demise? “Remus was killed by Dolohov and Tonks by Bellatrix”, Rowling confirmed.
11. What does Hufflepuff Common Room look like?
We take trips to Slytherin and Ravenclaw Common Room at least once throughout Rowling’s seven novels but never do we ever venture to the Hufflepuff stronghold.
And so, when a fan asked what it looked like, Rowling was only delighted to share a description:
The Hufflepuff common room is accessed through a portrait near the kitchens, as I am sure you have deduced. Sorry – I should say ‘painting’ rather than portrait, because it is a still-life. It is a very cosy and welcoming place, as dissimilar as possible from Snape’s dungeon. Lots of yellow hangings, and fat armchairs, and little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.
12. What did Albus Dumbledore REALLY see in the Mirror of Erised?
He claimed to see himself holding a pair of thick woollen socks when Harry asked him, but Rowling said the Hogwarts headmaster could see his family “alive, whole and happy – Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him.”
13. What happened to Harry’s grandparents?
Everyone knows the Potters were a pretty rich wizarding family but the mystery of the fate of James’ parents was never solved in the novels.
Thankfully, Rowling returned to their tale via Pottermore, tracing the family’s history right the way back to the 12th century and revealing that Potter’s paternal grandparents had sadly died of dragon pox. And given it was actually a popular fan theory, some people were silently smug.
14. Why did Vernon and Petunia hate James and Lily so much?
We always got the impression that Petunia resented her sister, and heaven knows Uncle Vernon was rather prejudiced when it came to people who were different, but what we didn’t realise was that there was more to their historical ‘beef’.
Turns out James and Vernon REALLY didn’t hit it off, but Harry’s dad had been willing to reconcile with him for the sake of his wife.
15. Was Harry related to the Peverells and was his Cloak of Invisibility THE Cloak of Invisibility?
In short? Yes and yes.
Rowling revealed that the Potter family tree linked Harry to Ignotus Peverell who passed the cloak down to his ancestors. It eventually made its way to James Potter, who bequeathed the cloak to his baby son.
Oh, and while we’re talking about the Peverells, they also linked Harry to Voldemort. The pair were distant relations, with Harry descending from Ignotus and Voldemort descending from the brother who was given the Resurrection Stone – Cadmus Peverell.
16. What are the other wizarding schools called?
We knew of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, but it wasn’t until January 2016 that we discovered the names of a further four wizarding educational establishments. Rowling added Castelobruxo, Mahoutokoro, Uagadou and Ilverymorny to the list via Pottermore just last month.
17. When is Sirius Black’s birthday?
Rowling revealed Harry’s godfather was born on November 4th after encouraging fans to show their support for Scotland during the 2015 Rugby World Cup
18. Is Draco Malfoy a secret werewolf?
I've never seen that one before. Draco definitely isn't a werewolf (and Snape's not a vampire). https://t.co/TSliADJvyi
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 2, 2015
19. Who’d win in a catfight? Crookshanks or Mrs Norris?
It would be brutal and very close, but Crookshanks' Kneazle ancestry would bring him out on top. https://t.co/qLc08eGuMz
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 16, 2015
20. How do you pronounce Voldemort properly?
Without the T.
… but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who pronounces it that way. https://t.co/HxhJ5XY5HP
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 9, 2015
It’s silent. We’ve ALL been saying it wrong.