8 Little Known Facts About The “Harry Potter” Series

J.K. Rowling is keeping the world on a slow drip of information about the Potterverse. Her tweets regularly clarify or even change her fictional creation, in small ways and large. Most recently, Rowling revealed that Harry Potter is the second of his name. His grandfather, Henry Potter, went by Harry, too.

If you find that surprising, check out all of these facts to round out your Harry Potter trivia collection:

1. An 8-year-old girl named Alice Newton saved Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from obscurity.


Alice is the daughter of Nigel Newton, chairman of Bloomsbury Publishing. Rather than read the manuscript himself, Nigel handed it to Alice. “Dad, this is so much better that anything else,” she told him, so he took a chance on the unknown J.K. Rowling.

2. The currency in the Wizarding World has an approximate exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.

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According to the Harry Potter Wikia page, the galleon is worth $7.35, 1 sickle is worth $0.46, and 1 knut is worth $.02.

3. A fake Harry Potter novel circulated in China in 2002.

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It was called Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong, which roughly translates as Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-To-Dragon. For 18 chapters, starting with chapter two, the book recounts the story of The Hobbit, changing names to fit the Potterverse. It ends in chapter 19 with goblins “singing a happy song, with a totally different melody than the previous songs.”

4. The French edition of Harry Potter had to change Voldemort’s real middle name to Elvis.

As you’ll recall, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named had a real name, and it was Tom Marvolo Riddle, an acronym for I am Lord Voldemort. In French, though, the letters don’t quite add up. The publisher had to change his name to Tom Elvis Jedusor in order to spell “Je suis Voldemort.”

5. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” had the largest initial print run in the history of book publishing.

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On July 21, 2007, the publisher released 12 million copies, more than any other book. The novel still holds that record.

6. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” has been translated into something like 70 different languages, including ancient, dead ones.

The novel has been translated into Latin and even Ancient Greek.

7. The British and American versions of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone” have more differences than just the title.


Publishers replaced words that were too “British” with more familiar terms. For instance, “car park” became “parking lot,” “dustbin” became “trash can,” and “came top of the year” became “had the best grades of the first years.”

8. We’ll have to enjoy the Harry Potter books we have because Rowling says she won’t return to the genre again.

“I think I can say categorically that I will not write another fantasy after Harry,” she said in a 2005 interview. She has also said that she won’t write any prequels. “You won’t need them by the time I’ve finished, you’ll have all the back story you’ll need!” she said in 2004.

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