It seems like some new fact about the Harry Potter series is revealed almost every day, even though it was first released over 20 years ago. If you can’t get enough trivia from the wizarding world, you’ve just hit the mother lode.
Diehard Harry Potter fans of the world are often quick to put their knowledge of the series to use, whether they’re at a trivia night or just having a random discussion. They’d better brace themselves, though, because there are some pretty mind-blowing references within the pages of those books that even they didn’t pick up on.
No, we’re not talking about the fact that J.K. Rowling and Harry share a birthday, or that she based all of the magical plants in the books off of real ones. We’re talking about real, historical information worked into the books so seamlessly that it’ll change the way you see the series entirely.
Royalty and the Weasley Names
Draco Malfoy constantly bullied the members of the Weasley family for a lot of reasons, one of the main ones being that they had less money than his family did. However, while they might not have been swimming in money, their names were rich in history—just not their last name.
Except for Ron, all of the names within the Weasley family once belonged to a king or queen of Britain. The name Arthur is, of course, a reference to King Arthur while Ginny’s name is based on the name of Camelot’s queen, Guinevere. Since Harry is essentially a member of the Weasley family, too, you can also take into account that there have been multiple Harrys on the British throne throughout the years.
There’s Also (King) George and (Prince) Fred
We know it’s hard to think about the fates of Fred and George Weasley at the end of the series, but bear with us. King George III became the king of England only after his father Prince Frederick of Wales died of pneumonia at the age of 44. Though it’s not well-documented, many historians have also found evidence that suggests King George slowly went deaf in one ear over time.
A George with ear problems and a Fred who suffered a tragic and untimely death? It’s too much of a coincidence to ignore, even if they were father and son in real life.
Hedwig, Beloved Pet and… Protector of Orphans?
Harry’s snowy owl, Hedwig, was his pet throughout the entire series until she was tragically killed while trying to protect Harry (we’re not crying, you are!). This moment and Hedwig’s role as Harry’s animal sidekick were pretty significant, though, when you consider where her name came from.
She was named after Saint Hedwig of Silesia, a woman whose life’s work revolved around protecting children who had been abandoned or orphaned, much like Harry was after his parents were killed.
Sirius, You’re A Star
Not only just in the hearts of fans but in real life, too. The name Sirius is also linked to that of the brightest star in our skies, and it has also been given the name “The Dog Star.”
In fact, the majority of the Black family members we hear about in the series have names based on stars or other heavenly bodies: Bellatrix, Regulus, Arcturus, and Andromeda. Speaking of Andromeda, in addition to being a galaxy, she was also the daughter of Aethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia.
The Black Sisters Have Ties to World War II
Bellatrix Lestrange, Andromeda Tonks, and Narcissa Malfoy were actually based on a set of six real sisters known as the Mitford sisters. Three of them, Diana, Unity, and Jessica, ended up with intensely politicized lives, much like the Black sisters of the wizarding world.
During the war, Unity worked closely with Adolf Hitler himself and became someone he took a liking to, much like the relationship between Bellatrix and Voldemort. Diana eventually became married to a man named Sir Oswald Mosley who was a known fascist, much like Lucius Malfoy.
Jessica, however, became a civil rights advocate during the war and leaned to the hard left when it came to politics. The similarities here are clear when you consider that Andromeda ran away from her pretentious pure-blood family to marry a muggle man, Ted Tonks.
Quirrell’s Two Faces Have Mythological Roots
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we are introduced to the stuttering Professor Quirinus Quirrell, a character who’s only around for one book. That’s because he allowed Voldemort to take up residence on the back of his head, allowing Harry to kill him just with the touch of his hands.
While that last bit might not have any historical significance, the first part does—Janus Quirinus was actually a god in Roman mythology who was said to have two faces.
Voldemort’s Own Wand Failed Him, Too
Though we know Voldemort takes possession of the Elder Wand near the end of the series, having the most powerful wand in the world didn’t end up doing him much good. Turns out, his own wand was playing against him from the start, too.
His wand was made of wood from a yew tree, which is said to be a symbol of immortality—fitting for Voldy. However, yew is also said to be unlucky because it can typically only be found in graveyards, which is also where we see Voldemort in his “human” form for the first time. Harry’s wand, on the other hand, was made from the wood of a holly tree, which is said to help drive evil away.
Dobby Is Very Appropriately Named
No, really—his name literally means “benevolent elf.”
In English folklore, a “Master Dobbs” or a “dobbie” was the name for an elf who helped the homeowner out around the house at night in secret.
Argus Filch Really Does See All
Being the caretaker of Hogwarts was not a job that Argus Filch took lightly, although just how good he was at that job is arguable. However, whenever there was trouble, he always seemed to show up just in time take away their fun or get the students involved into even more trouble with their teachers.
It makes sense when you consider that the word “filch” actually means “to casually steal or pilfer.” As for his first name, Argus was a Greek god who was said to have multiple eyes, making him all-seeing, much like Filch seemed to be in the series.
We All Feel A Little Bad For Him, Though
Throughout the series, we hear small mentions of Argus Filch being a squib which, in the series, is a word used to describe someone who, although born to magical parents, doesn’t have any magical skills themselves.
However, the term “squib” wasn’t just made up—it’s a real word that has historically been used to reference a firecracker that won’t spark, similar to how a wizard-born person who can’t do magic.
Wolf Names Lead to Wolf People
If there’s one thing we can all learn from Harry Potter, it’s that your kid will eventually turn into a werewolf if you give them a wolf-related name. Our favorite werewolf Remus Lupin takes his name from Romulus and Remus, twins who were raised by a she-wolf in Roman mythology.
Fenrir Greyback is also named after a giant wolf named Fenrir, who is often referenced in Norse mythology. Oddly enough, it was actually Fenrir who bit Lupin and turned him into a werewolf in the first place, along with Bill Weasley and Lavender Brown.
However, Bill only has some wolf-like tendencies because Fenrir bit him while in his human form, while Lavender was declared to be “presumed dead,” so it’s unknown if she lived out the rest of her days as a werewolf or not.