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20 Harry James Potter Character Facts You Never Knew

So many of us grew up with Harry Potter as he explored the wondrous world of wizardry. Whether you're casually into Harry Potter or a mega fan, here are a few facts about the young half-blood you may not know!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  October 13th 2022

1. Harry lost his ability to speak to snakes!

In The Chamber of Secrets, we learned that Harry could speak to snakes, or 'Parseltongue’, which he wasn’t too pleased about as it made him even more similar to his nemesis Voldemort.  What not everyone knows though, is that Harry lost this power after Voldemort was destroyed. 

J.K. Rowling confirmed this in an interview in 2007, talking about Harry still speaking Parseltongue, “he loses the ability, and is very glad to do so."  

2. Harry and Hermione almost got together!

There has been a lot of debate with Harry Potter fans about whether Ron and Hermione should have gotten together. J.K. Rowling also wasn't sure if that was the right call!  In an interview, she said she wished she had got Harry together with Hermione instead(?!)

She stuck to her original plan, but she always had doubts. 

3. Harry was technically a high school dropout.

In an interview in 2007, J.K. Rowling explained that Harry and Ron didn’t graduate from Hogwarts. Naturally, Hermione did - after the Battle of Hogwarts, she went back to school and aced her NEWT exams before heading off to the Ministry of Magic to work with Harry and Ron. We totally get why Harry and Ron couldn’t be bothered to finish their exams after everything they’d been through... but we would love to see a Hogwarts graduation party!

4. Draco originally wanted to be Harry's friend.

This cool new factoid was shared by J.K. Rowling during one of her Pottermore talks, where she explained that Draco wanted to be Harry's friend and why. Apparently, Draco's family and the rest of the Death Easters thought Harry might be a powerful dark wizard to have survived Voldemort’s attack.  They were all pretty disappointed when they learned that he wasn’t – especially Draco. His disappointment turned to anger! 

5. Hedwig was a symbol of Harry's childhood.

When Hedwig, the adorable and clever pet owl that gave Harry so much comfort, is killed by accident in The Deathly Hallows, it felt pretty harsh. Why did Hedwig have to die? According to J.K. Rowling, Hedwig’s sudden death is symbolic of the end of Harry’s childhood - "The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security. She has been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood."

6. Harry gets Hagrid’s flying motorbike.

This super cool enchanted motorbike first appeared when Hagrid arrived at 4 Privet Drive to collect Harry.  You may not know however, that it was actually owned first by Sirius Black, who would use it as a getaway vehicle after committing mischief with Harry's dad.  It was then lent to Hagrid. That bike goes through a lot of adventures, but in the end, Mr Weasley fixes it and returns the bike to Harry.

7. Harry gets his own chocolate frog card!

Most famous witches and wizards end up with a chocolate frog card, and who is more famous than Harry Potter?  Not only does Harry get one in the end, but Ron and Hermione do too. When asked if the three heroes got their cards, J.K. Rowling said, "Definitely. And Ron will describe this as his finest hour."

8. Harry and Dudley are still buddies.

While they were never best friends at school, they had a lot in common. So, of course, it's a bit weird to imagine Harry and Dudley hanging out as adults. However, in another interview, J.K. Rowling said, “Harry and Dudley would still see each other enough to be on Christmas-card terms, but they would visit more out of a sense of duty and sit in silence so that their children could see their cousins.”

A bit awkward, but it's nice they stayed in touch!

9. Harry Potter was named after J.K. Rowling's neighbour.

When asked about the origins of Harry's name J.K. Rowling said, “Harry has always been my favourite boy's name, so if my daughter had been a son, he would have been Harry Rowling. Then I would have had to choose a different name for 'Harry' in the books because it would have been too cruel to name him after my own son. 'Potter' was the surname of a family who used to live near me when I was seven years old, and I always liked the name, so I borrowed it."

10. A different actor nearly played Harry in the films. 

Long before Daniel Radcliffe got cast, the role was initially considered for A.I. and A Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment! This came about because Steven Spielberg was initially to direct the Harry Potter movies, and he liked Haley for the part. Fortunately, J.K. Rowling was adamant that Harry Potter was a British story that needed a British cast - or we would have seen a very different version on the silver screen!

11. Harry and J.K. Rowling share the same birthday!

J.K. Rowling’s birthday is July 31st, 1965, and Harry Potter's birthday is July 31st, 1980. Meaning Harry Potter would be turning 41 in 2021! However, despite this link to herself, J.K. Rowling has always maintained that her favourite character isn't Harry but Albus Dumbledore. 

12. Harry and Voldemort are relatives!

The Potter wizarding family, which Harry belongs to, is descended from Ignotus Peverell and Linfred Stinchcombe.

The House of Gaunt, which Voldemort belongs to, was a pure-blood wizarding family descended from Ignotus Peverell's brother Cadmus and Salazar Slytherin. 

So technically, Harry and Voldemort have some of the same ancestors! 

13. T.H. White's character Wart partly inspired Harry

J.K. Rowling confirmed in an interview that the character of Wart from T.H. White's novel The Sword In The Stone was "Harry's spiritual ancestor."  In The Sword In The Stone, a young boy called Wart meets the sorcerer Merlyn. The latter helps him to grow up into a mighty warrior and later become King Arthur. So while Harry wasn't based on anyone specific, we can see how Wart's tale of growing up and learning about magic and bravery could have been an inspiration. 

14. Harry’s scar was made lightning-bolt shaped for one reason – because it's cool.

Harry's forehead scar burns when Voldemort is near feeling strong emotions - acting as a magical window into the mind of Harry's enemy.  But why was it lightning-bolt shaped?  According to J.K. Rowling, she chose it “because it’s a cool shape - I couldn’t have my hero sport a doughnut-shaped scar."

15. Harry's favourite book is Quidditch Through the Ages.

This fact isn't surprising given Harry was never one to study much but loved Quidditch.  What is quite cool is that this became an actual book that J.K. Rowling wrote (using the pseudonym Kennilworthy Whisp) for Comic Relief.

16. Harry's wand was made of holly tree wood

J.K. Rowling chose to make Harry's wand from holly wood.  In traditional folklore, holly is supposed to ward off evil. But it's also the wood associated with July – Harry's birthday month. J.K. Rowling didn't know any of this when she chose holly, though, weird!

17. In The Philosopher's Stone, Harry never actually casts a spell!

Ron and Hermione are both seen casting spells, but Harry never does. Instead, he relies more on his knowledge, wit, and Quidditch skills to get through his first year. It wasn't until Chamber of Secrets that our Harry P waved his wand!

18. People love to dress up as Harry. 

In 2005 said that Harry Potter costumes were their fifth-best selling, and they remain popular today. Wizard rock bands also exist, where fans, with members dressing up like Harry with black wigs, scars and glasses!

19. Some people don’t like Harry!

While Harry Potter was once voted 85th out of  ‘100 Best Fictional Characters’ by Book magazine, he was voted the ‘35th Worst Briton’ in for a TV Show by Channel 4 called ‘100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate. Aw, poor Potter!

20. Harry’s greatest strength is his bravery

Harry doesn't initially seem to be a fair match for Voldemort, who is a super-powerful wizard. J.K. Rowling wanted him to be just a normal boy, and he is.  But the one difference he has is that he's brave.  After the last book was published, J.K. Rowling has said that the fact Harry isn't afraid to die for what matters to him is why he would always be stronger than Voldemort. Bravery - the secret weapon we all possess!