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The first Harry Potter movie turned 20: 5 lesser-known facts

By Pallavi Kanungo,

Did you know that Harry Potter shares his name with his own great grandfather?

Hermione’s name is borrowed from Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale.”

JK Rowling introduced us to the world of witchcraft and wizards through Harry Potter way back in the late 90s. The first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, came into being in 1997. But this novel was turned into a movie in November 2001, turning Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione into household names overnight. In the month of the first Harry Potter movie’s 20th anniversary, we are here with 5 lesser-known facts about this iconic creation that is sure to leave you surprised.  

Harry Potter is his great grandfather’s namesake  
According to Pottermore, now known as Wizarding World, the fan-site of Harry Potter as well as the Fantastic Beast, the eponymous hero of Harry Potter shares his good name with his great grandfather, who apparently belonged to the age which Fantastic Beast is set in. Although Rowling never directly mentions about this ancestor in her books, there are many hints throughout the movie series. In fact, it is known that the characters have playful history behind their names.  

Ron Weasley’s name now appears on a wizard card  
In the very first book and film of the Harry Potter series, it was revealed that Harry’s best friend Ron loved his chocolate frogs’ candy that came with cards denoting names of important wizards. However, little did he know that his own face would one day appear on one of those cards.  

Every character’s name has an underlying meaning  
According to the Pottermore website, the names of about 40 Hogwarts students who later became Harry’s batchmates (including the members of the Golden Trio) have an underlying significance. For example, Harry’s name symbolises his strong leadership skills, while Ron’s name suggests the role of a best friend cum sidekick. However, only Hermione’s name is derived from Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” that had more to do with her parents’ intention to choose a clever nickname for her and less to do with her own character.  

Hogwarts house names were conceived on an airplane  
According to Rowling, the names of the Hogwarts houses, namely, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were conceived out of the blue while she was on an airplane travelling from U.K. to USA in 1999. In fact, in absence of paper, she had scribbled the names on a vomit bag.  

The success numbers of Harry Potter series  
Till date, the entire Harry Potter book series (comprising of 7 individual novels) has been translated into 80 different languages. In fact, the entire series has sold approximately 500 million copies globally. Moreover, very recently, it has been translated into Scottish for the very first time.  

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