It’s a good year to be a Potter fan. For a series that supposedly “ended” in 2007 there has been a lot of new material released this year. Nestled between the bigger releases of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in July and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November, we find Pottermore’s three new e-books: Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists, and Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies.
In this collection of e-books, we see into the series with new eyes. J.K. Rowling reveals many details that were not able to fit into the original 7 novels. These are 6 things we learned reading the new e-books.
1. McGonagall’s First Love
When Minerva finished Hogwarts, she fell in love with a muggle, Dougal McGregor. The two quickly became engaged before Minerva decided she did not want to give up her ambitions as a witch to settle down as a farmer’s wife. She took back her acceptance to his proposal with no real explanation. Dougal later married a farmer’s daughter and both were murdered by Death Eaters in a random attack.
2. What Happened To Kettleburn (the Care Of Magical Creatures Teacher Before Hagrid)
In Harry’s first two years of Hogwarts, Hagrid is simply the groundskeeper. In Harry’s third year, Hagrid is also given a teaching job in Care of Magical Creatures. Silvanus Kettleburn held the position previously and retires at the end of Harry’s second year. Much like Hagrid, Kettleburn had a great love of all things dangerous. He lost several limbs and had 62 probationary periods during his career. He retired with only one arm and half a leg remaining. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Kettleburn was living in Hogsmeade and threw Flobberworms at passing Death Eaters.
3. The Origins Of Azkaban
Azkaban prison was originally home to a wizard who practiced the worst kinds of Dark Arts. He magically concealed his home and the island it was on and lured, tortured, and killed muggle sailors. After he died and the concealment charm broke, it was found that the building was infested with dementors.
The Minister for Magic at the time, Rowle, insisted on using the building as a prison. One following Minister tried to find an alternative, but died from dragon pox before any decision was reached. No other Minister, until Kingsley Shacklebolt, ever thought about closing the prison and turned a blind eye to the inhumane conditions.
4. Why Slughorn Originally Retired From Hogwarts
Once Slughorn realized that his beloved student, Tom Riddle, had become Lord Voldemort, he was racked with guilt over their conversation regarding horcruxes. When rumors surfaced that Voldemort had somehow made himself immortal, Slughorn became ill with guilt. When Voldemort fell to baby Harry, Slughorn was so relieved he accidentally alerted Dumbledore to the possibility he had shared dark secrets with Riddle. When Dumbledore tried to coax information from him, Slughorn promptly retired.
5. The Wizarding Dilemma Of The Hogwarts Express
Before students rode the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross to Hogsmeade Station, wizarding parents were responsible for finding a way to get their child to Hogwarts. With the signing of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1692, a more discreet way of transporting hundreds of children needed to be found.
At first they tried portkeys at various points, but many children missed their portkey on account of not finding the correct object in time. Portkeys also made many children sick and the hospital wing was overfilled at the start of every term.
While the muggles were creating King’s Cross, a Minister proposed adding a secret station and a train to travel from London to Hogwarts. Many pure-blood parents were opposed to the idea of their children traveling on “unsafe, insanitary and demeaning” muggle transportation. The Ministry responded to the complaints by saying that if students did not ride the train, they could not attend Hogwarts.
6. Which Inventions Gave J.K. Rowling The Most Trouble
Of all of the wonderful things J.K. Rowling created, she had the hardest time with the Maurader’s Map and Time Turner. With the Map, Rowling felt Harry had too much “freedom of information.” She did, however, enjoy the scene in Deathly Hallows when Harry was able to watch Ginny’s dot wander the castle.
The Time Turner was tricky, “because after all, if wizards could go back and undo problems, where were my future plots?” The original solution was to impress the importance of not being seen in the past. Then in Order of the Phoenix Harry and friends accidentally destroy the Ministry’s entire collection of Time Turners.
What new Potter information surprised you most?
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