In a 2011 interview with RTÉ, Alan Rickman revealed that J.K. Rowling had given him a bit of advice on how he should play Professor Snape in the movies. He said, "She gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will. It wasn't a plot point, or crucial in any tangible way, but it was crucial to me as a piece of information that made me travel down that road rather than that one or that one or that one."
Sadly Rickman died in January 2016, and fans were dying to know what that piece of information was that Rickman took to his grave. Not long after, Rowling tweeted the answer. "I told Alan what lies behind the word always," Rowling responded to a fan.
For those who aren't familiar with what the word "always" symbolizes in Harry Potter, it's a quote from Professor Snape's character that really shows his true colors. In the books, Snape, who was childhood friends with Harry's mom, Lily Potter, fell in love with her at a young age. When Dumbledore finds out that Snape is still in love with Lily Potter (even after her death at the hands of Lord Voldemort) he asks him, "Really Severus? After all this time?" and Snape replies, "Always."
Rowling wanted Rickman to know what drove his character early on, so that he would never be misguided in his performance onscreen. And as for the rest of the cast---they had to wait and find out just how much of a softie Snape was the same as us when the last book came out.
RIP Alan Rickman and the grumpy, loving wizard he played, Severus Snape.
Although inspired by zombies, Rowling had a very unique reason for not using the "Z" word. "I'm part of the 'Thriller' generation," she wrote. "To me, a zombie will always mean Michael Jackson in a bright red bomber jacket." Yea, that wouldn't exactly have the same terrifying effect if Dumbledore and Harry were fighting off a bunch of "Triller" zombies.
One of the final things Harry says in the last book is: "Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew." But that's not all Harry did to honor Snape.
Rowling revealed Harry made sure that a portrait of the misunderstood professor was placed in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. She explained in a webchat, "I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape's portrait would appear there in due course." Harry + Snape 4eva.
Remember that scene in the first Harry Potter movie where Draco tries to be nice to Harry (and is a complete jerk to Ron)? Rowling decided to give us a little more insight behind Draco's actions in the first book. "Draco was raised in an atmosphere of regret that the Dark Lord had not succeeded in taking command of the wizarding community," Rowling wrote, revealing that before meeting Harry on the Hogwarts Express, Draco, his family and other ex-Death Eaters thought Harry could be "another, and better, Voldemort." It's always about status with the Malfoys.
In the Deathly Hallows Hermione has an ever-expanding handbag, which apparently is completely illegal. Despite the Ministry of Magic regulating the spell, she ended up getting away with breaking the law because the bag "played no insignificant part in the defeat of the greatest Dark wizard of all time." (Now where can I find an illegal Marry Poppins bag?)
On Rowling's 2007 American book tour, the author had a surprise for fans. Apparently after destroying one of the most powerful Dark wizards that ever existed you get to have your face appear on one of the collectible Chocolate Frog Cards.
Harry's card says: "The first and only known wizard to survive the Killing Curse, most famous for the defeat of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort."
Hermione's card says: "The brightest witch of her age, who eradicated pro-pureblood laws and campaigned for the rights of non-human beings such as house-elves."
Ron's card says: "Destroying the Horcruxes and subsequent defeat of Voldemort and revolutionising the Ministry of Magic."
Ron, an ardent card collector, considered this to be one of the greatest achievements of all time. Dreams really do come true.
In a particularly hilarious revelation from J.K. Rowling, it turns out sometimes Dumbledore could tell when Harry was snooping. Rowling shared that Dumbledore would silently use the incantation "homenum revelio" to get a glimpse of Harry whenever he eavesdropped beneath his invisibility cloak.
Word to the wise, don't anger Rowling when she's writing or she may axe one of your favorite characters. Apparently, when she was in a bad place personally, Rowling nearly killed off Ron and Arthur Weasley. Despite making a promise to herself to keep the "Golden Trio" in tact through all seven Harry Potter books, she got a little antsy about keeping that promise for a little while.
In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 extra, Rowling told Daniel Radcliffe about her dark thoughts. "I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. 'There, now you definitely can't have him any more.' But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn't have done it]."
Arthur very nearly died from an attack by Voldemort's snake but he made it through because "there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series," Rowling said.
What about Fred, Jo?! He was one of the best twins in the series and you went and killed him off! Not cool, Jo, not cool.
A fan tweeted to Rowling: "My wife said there are no Jews at Hogwarts. I'm a Jew so I assume she said it to be the only magical 1 in the family. Thoughts?"
Rowling responded: "Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard."
Turns out the Malfoys didn't exactly like Draco's future wife, Astoria Greengrass because she wasn't a pure blood or part of one of the 28 sacred wizarding families. What's new? (Not the Malfoy's petty hatred of half bloods, that's what.) Draco, however, did not end up a bitter old Slytherin talking about the good ol' days when he was almost somebody in the Dark Lord's posse. His wife doesn't share her in-laws' obsession with pure blood and is dead set on raising her child differently than they raised her husband, according to Rowling.
This did not exactly go over well with Lucius and Narcissa. "As Astoria refused to raise their grandson Scorpius in the belief that Muggles were scum, family gatherings were fraught with tension," Rowling wrote.
The Malfoys are consistent, I'll give them that. They also suck.
Say what?! Apparently Rowling's family tree links James Potter with Ignotus Peverell. James left Harry the Invisibility Cloak, one of the necessary hallows to achieve immortality, which was passed down by Ignotus, who is James's direct ancestor. Tom Riddle, aka Voldemort, was also related to the Peverells. This is why he had the Resurrection Stone. There are hints in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but it's not super obvious.
It's terrifying to think there's a real person Rowling based this character off of, but it's true. She said she based the kitten-obsessed professor on a real person that she "disliked intensely on sight." The author also said that the real life Umbridge felt the same about her. "The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest."
So perhaps the reason we all feel so strongly about Umbridge is because Rowling was thinking of an actual person when she conjured the character up. "Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say." Rowling said that real life Umbridge also had a ton of pictures of kittens on her office walls. "Her desire to control, to punish, and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort's unvarnished espousal of evil," Rowling said of the fictional professor. "Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious Potter characters - she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry." (Really hope the real woman doesn't know she's the inspiration for the character...yikes!)
Ever wonder how the Durselys got their names? "'Vernon' is simply a name I never much cared for," Rowling wrote in June 2015. "'Petunia' is the name that I always gave unpleasant female characters in games of make believe I played with my sister Di." Dudley is also pretty unpleasant if you ask us (sorry to all you Dudleys of the world).
Because Rowling was on a "kill parents" spree to demonstrate Voldemort's absolute evil, she just had to kill newly-wedded Tonks and Remus Lupin. "I think one of the most devastating things about war is the children left behind. As happened in the first war when Harry's left behind, I wanted us to see another child left behind. And it made it very poignant that it was their newborn son."
But it wasn't easy for Rowling. "Fred, Lupin, and Tonks really caused me a lot of pain. Lupin and Tonks were two who were killed who I had intended to keep alive. It's like an exchange of hostages, isn't it?"
The pain it caused, her?? WHAT ABOUT MY PAIN, JO?! Did you stop to think of that at all, hmm?
Rowling kept this little gem to herself up until 2007 when she told an audience at Carnegie Hall that not only was Hogwarts's Headmaster gay, but that he also had been in love with his childhood friend Gellert Grindelwald. Later, he would have to defeat dark wizard Grindelwald and the love of his life, leaving him heartbroken. Rowling explained why such a wise person could be in love with someone so opposite. "Falling in love can blind us to an extent," she said.
The revelation about the beloved character's sexuality was received with a "prolonged ovation." Taken aback, Rowling said, "If I'd known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!'"
Beginning in 2015, Rowling promised to apologize for a death in the Harry Potter series every year on the anniversary of the end of the Second Wizarding War (May 2). In 2016, she focused her contrition on Remus Lupin, a werewolf and former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor who knew Harry's parents.
In a series of tweets, Rowling said: "Once again, it's the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts so, as promised, I shall [apologize] for a death. This year: Remus Lupin... In the interests of total honesty I'd also like to confess that I didn't decide to kill Lupin until I wrote Order of the Phoenix."
She continued, "Arthur lived, so Lupin had to die. I'm sorry. I didn't enjoy doing it. The only time my editor ever saw me cry was over the fate of Teddy." YOU BETTER HAVE CRIED, JO.
Say it ain't so! In early 2014, Rowling said that, with a little distance, she didn't really see how this pairing would work out. "I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron."
Can she really do that? Just say things that change the whole series? Take it back, Jo!
"I know, I'm sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not," Rowling said.
She offers that maybe with some counseling Ron would "work on his self-esteem issues" and that Hermione would be "a little less critical."
Harry and Ron never felt the need to return back to Hogwarts after Voldemort's death. Hermione Brightest-Witch-Of-Her-Age Granger did choose to return and finish by taking her NEWTs. Classic Hermione.
In response to questions from curious fans, J.K. Rowling revealed on August 21, 2015 that "Hagrid couldn't produce a Patronus" with the reason being that "It's a very difficult spell." (Maybe he just needs more practice with his pink umbrella?)
The founder of the Hogwarts of North America, The Ilvermorny School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry, came to the U.S. on the Mayflower with nothing but a golden brooch and a wand she stole from her mean aunt. Unbeknownst to Isolt, the wand she had stolen from her aunt belonged to her ancestor and one of the Hogwarts founders, Salazar Slyherin. The core of this powerful wand was from a Basilisk --- like the one found in the Chamber of Secrets.
To teach her two children about magic, Isolt turned her house on Mount Greylock in Western Massachusetts into a school (which later became known as Ilvermorny). The school is protected by a number of powerful enchantments that conceal the school from prying non-magical eyes. By the 1800s, Ilvermorny became the preferred boarding school for young witches and wizards in the region. Since it was co-founded by Isolt's husband, a No-Maj, it is also the most accepting of all wizards --- pureblood or otherwise.
Ilvermorny's Robes Are Blue And Cranberry. Blue was chosen by Isolt, who had always wanted to be in the Ravenclaw house, and cranberry for her husband's love of cranberry pie. All robes are fastened with a gold Gordian knot. So just how do they sort students into houses at Ilvermorny? Well, there are still four different houses, and they're all represented by different animals, but that's about as far as the similarities between the two sorting processes go.
As new Ilvermorny students enter the castle for the first time, they are called individually to stand on the Gordian knot --- which is surrounded by carvings of each of the Houses --- at the center of the entrance hall. Once the student is in place, the carvings will react to claim the student. Sometimes, multiple Houses want a student, in which case the student must pick their own fate. Sounds a tad more eventful (and nerve racking) than the sorting hat. If you'd like to find out which Ilvermorny house you belong in, just take the new Pottermore quiz!
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