ByEileen McNulty-Holmes, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot Editor. Queen of grammar and graphic novels. Tweets: @eileenamholmes
Eileen McNulty-Holmes

For many of us, the end of Harry Potter was the end of our childhoods. But in the words of J.K. Rowling herself, "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home". One of the most wonderful things about this beloved franchise is every single time we go back to it, we uncover something new. Rowling set the books out so meticulously, and hid so many little secrets in them, that we may never notice everything there is to know about this truly magical series.

In the wizarding world, there's no such thing as coincidence — details which seem trivial will suddenly become key to the plot 4 books later. It's really no wonder that Rowling turned her talents to detective stories after she'd finished the original Harry Potter series! Below are some of the most mind-blowing secrets and coincidences we've found in Harry Potter over the years. Even the most discerning witch or wizard may have missed one or two of these before now.

1. When Aunt Petunia Met Snape

Aunt Petunia. Image: Warner Bros.
Aunt Petunia. Image: Warner Bros.

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

You may remember that Aunt Petunia shocked everyone in book 5 by knowing that the Dementors guard Azkaban. When asked how she knows, she responds:

"I heard - that awful boy - telling her about them - years ago."

Harry — and pretty much every single reader — thought she was referring to James Potter. PLOT TWIST! She wasn't - check out this flashback conversation between Lily and Snape from The Deathly Hallows:

Snape and Lily. Image: Warner Bros.
Snape and Lily. Image: Warner Bros.

"Tell me about the Dementors again" (Lily Evans)

"What d’you want to know about them for?" (Severus Snape)

"If I use magic outside of school -"

"They wouldn’t give you the Dementors for that! Dementors are for people who do really bad stuff. They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban, you’re too -"

He turned red again and shredded more leaves. Then a small rustling noise behind Harry made him turn: Petunia, hiding behind a tree, had lost her footing.

Naturally, all Potterheads worth their salt know Petunia and Snape met, but it's so cool that she referenced their meeting as early on as Order of the Phoenix. It's detail like this which really show just how rich and intricate the world of Harry Potter is. The main question is: how on Earth did J.K. Rowling keep track of so many little details?!

2. A Huge Clue About a Major Death

Professor Trelawney. Image: Warner Bros.
Professor Trelawney. Image: Warner Bros.

Appears in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The first time we read The Prisoner of Azkaban, many of us assumed Professor Trelawney was just straight-up crazy. But it's a widely-known fact in the Potter fandom that most of her prophecies came true. That being said, even I missed this crucial detail.

On Christmas Day, Professor Trelawney refuses to sit a table already occupied by 12 other characters, because she would be the 13th, and the first one to stand up would die.

It turns out, this wasn't just superstition. Unfortunately, it turns out their were already 13 'people' around the table — as Peter Pettigrew was present, concealed as Scabbers. The first person to stand up from the table?

Professor Dumbeldore in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'. Image: Warner Bros.
Professor Dumbeldore in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'. Image: Warner Bros.

YEP.

If you fancy torturing yourself with more Harry Potter feels, check out our video of the most moving HP quotes below:

3. The Curse of the Thirteen Strikes Again!

Lord Vodemort. Image: Warner Bros.
Lord Vodemort. Image: Warner Bros.

Appears In: Pretty much all the books — but especially The Order of the Phoenix

The number 13 actually crops up throughout the Harry Potter series — for instance:

  • Voldemort's wand is 13 and a half inches long
  • Voldemort spent 13 years without a corporeal form
  • Sirius Black was wrongfully imprisoned for the deaths of 13 people.

Speaking of Sirius: when the Order of the Phoenix gather, 13 them sit down together. Care to guess who the first person to stand up was?

You'd really think that wizards would be a lot more careful about the attendance numbers for their dinner parties!

4. Did Trelawney Predict That Harry Was a Horcrux?

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Yet more mind-blowing Trelawney wisdom for you! During Divination class, we hear the following exchange:

Trelawney: "I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in midwinter?"

Harry: "No, I was born in July."

Harry, of course, wasn't born in midwinter. But He Who Must Not Be Named was; on the 31st December, in fact. It's entirely plausible that Trelawney sensed the Dark Lord's presence in Harry, and this is why she got confused.

If you re-read the books, this kooky, bumbling Professor ultimately proves to be one of the sharpest minds in the wizarding world.

See Also...

5. Dumbledore's Soft Spot Revealed

Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Image: Warner Bros.
Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Image: Warner Bros.

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

At the end of The Sorcerer's Stone, Dumbledore gives Neville 10 points to Gryffindor for showing courage, and standing up to his friends.

At the time, I thought this was just a ploy so that Gryffindor could win the House Cup. Of course, nothing with Dumbledore is ever that simple. We learn in The Deathly Hallows that Dumbledore struggled to bring himself to confront Grindelwald, someone whom he loved dearly — and that he truly knows the courage it took Neville to intercept Harry and co. that night.

6. Snape's Hidden Talent Was Revealed in the Sorcerer's Stone

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

This is another astonishingly tiny detail you may have missed the first time around. In The Sorcerer's Stone, Harry is concerned that Snape knows about his nighttime adventures around Hogwarts:

"Could Snape possibly know they'd found out about the Sorcerer's Stone? Harry didn't see how he could — yet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds."

Once again, most of us thought nothing of this at the time. But of course, we find out that Snape is a highly-skilled Legilimens — and that Harry was right about him all along.

7. Snape's True Motivations Were Right in Front of Us The Whole Time

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Image: Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Image: Warner Bros.

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry may have busted Snape's secret skill, but he was unsure about his true motivations until the last. It would seem though, in his own way, Snape tried to let Harry know what his motivations were as early as their first Potions lesson together.

You might recall that Snape asks Harry a potions question, in typically brusque fashion:

'Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?'

With a little botanical know-how, a surprising hidden meaning surfaces...

The asophodel Snape mentions is a type of lily which traditionally means "my regrets follow you to the grave," whereas the wormwood used to mean "absence." Wormwood also typically symbolized deep, bitter sorrow.

If the two flowers were placed together in a bouquet, that means it could plausibly mean something along the lines of: 'I bitterly regret Lily's death'.

The answer to one of the biggest mysteries in the series was right there in front of us the whole time!

8. Further Evidence That Snape Was Always the Good Guy

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

J.K. Rowling may have slowly built Snape's arc across the whole series, but by The Goblet of Fire, Harry - like most of us - was still totally clueless about where Snape's allegiance lay. That being said, The Order of the Phoenix gave us a massive clue about Snape's quite good-guy instincts. As a plucky Potterhead on Quora explains:

"When Barty Crouch Jr masquerading as Mad-eye has taken Harry to his room, we are told that Harry sees in the Foe-Glass Dumbledore, Minerva, and Snape coming to save him. Now, the Foe-Glass shows its owner's true enemies. So, Snape should not have been shown by the Foe Glass if he was really in league with the Death Eaters."

Anyone else feeling a little silly for completely missing this?

9. Harry Was Doomed to "Die" Before He Even Stepped Foot in Hogwarts

Appears In: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

J.K. Rowling made sure that every little detail was consequential, from characters' names right down to their wands.

It's been widely-noted, for instance, that Harry, Ron and Hermiones' wands are all Celtic-rooted, foreshadowing the powerful bond that will be forged between our favorite trio.

But did you know that Holly (which Harry's wand is made of) is the symbol of the eighth month of the Celtic Tree calendar (July 8th - August 4th) — the month, of course, that Harry was born in? Even more mind-blowing than that, it's known in folklore as The Tree of Sacrifice.

Even before he stepped foot in Hogwarts, Harry's wand told us he'd one day have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

These secrets, clues and coincidences prove, of course, that J.K. Rowling is one hell of a writer. But more than that, they show us that the end of Harry Potter was really just the beginning. There are still so many tiny details to go back and uncover. What are you guys waiting for? Go forth and discover!

Poll

How many of these Harry Potter secrets did you already know? Be honest!

(Sources: Quora, Mugglenet)

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