7 New Things We've Learned About Harry Potter Since The Books Ended
The Boy Who Lived continued living after the seventh book.
J.K. Rowling cannot let Harry Potter go. Granted, it's hard to blame her. She created a multi-billion dollar franchise with the first seven novels of her Harry Potter series. And there are millions of fans worldwide who are willing to pay her vast sums of money to revisit a universe she clearly loved and never got bored of.
Everything Rowling says becomes canon. In fan communities, this is known as the Word of God; since she is the originator of these stories, she has the ability to pronounce new facts as she pleases, even years after the original books' publications. The public may eventually sour on this; if the reviews for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are to be believed, we might be on the verge of a backlash.
But this trend started long before the latest Fantastic Beasts movie. Here are seven new things we've learned about the Harry Potter Wizarding Universe since the books ended--either from the new films, from Rowling herself, or from the expanded online compendium Pottermore, which has fleshed out the backstories of numerous characters. "Dumbledore is gay" made national headlines; we're going to talk about some of the more minor details that even Harry Potter fans might have missed.
When you're done, check out all the Harry Potter Easter eggs we found in Fantastic Beasts 2 and the 7 dumbest things Dumbledore ever did.
7. Luna Lovegood got married to a perfect match.
Luna Lovegood, called "Loony" by her detractors, was an offbeat girl: odd, dreamy, and prone to flights of fancy, but also smart, earnest, and empathetic. She was the typical "weird" kid at Hogwarts, but Harry identified with her inner pain (she lost her mother, he lost both parents) and became her close friend.
When Luna grew up, she became a wizard naturalist, dedicating herself to finding and learning more about magical creatures. Somewhat appropriately, she married Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newt Scamander. Newt is the lead hero of the Fantastic Beasts movies. In book canon, he wrote the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
6. Aunt Petunia and Harry partially reconciled before her death.
Aunt Petunia, the jealous sister of Harry's mother Lily, was non-magical, and she held it against Lily and Harry for the rest of her life. But she played a crucial, essential role in the series; she took Harry into her home when Lily died (even if it was reluctantly), and by doing so, she solidified the magical protection that her sister had given Harry until his 17th birthday.
At some point, around 2020, Aunt Petunia died. At the time of her death, she had partially reconciled with Harry; they exchanged Christmas cards, and they occasionally saw each other so Harry and Dudley's children could play together.
5. Horace Slughorn learned his elitism from his parents.
Horace Slughorn was a good Slytherin; he was a palm greaser and a manipulator, but he was on the side of history and despised the pure blood mentality of his fellow House members. He practiced a sort of ruthless meritocracy; he valued those who showed talent and promise, and anyone who was simply average or below average was treated with cold indifference.
He learned much of his elitism from his parents, who were part of the "Sacred 28" pure-blood families. Although his parents believed in pure blood supremacy, they were neither militant nor overt in enforcing their beliefs. As a result, Slughorn became friends with Muggle-born wizards, and came to see them (as he did with Lily Potter) as capable of being equally talented as pure bloods.
4. Draco became a better person.
Draco was framed as a villain from the first book of the series, but the readers and Harry soon discovered that Draco was more worthy of contempt and pity than hatred. He was trying too hard to be evil, and it was clear that he didn't have the stomach for the torture and murder it would entail.
After the seventh book, Draco had to re-evaluate his life; the people that he admired were either dead or imprisoned, and his father had to become an informant to protect himself from further criminal prosecution. He ended up marrying Astoria Greengrass, a witch who disavowed pure blood supremacy and refused to teach those beliefs to their son, Scorpius. Hopefully, Scorpius's more forward-thinking upbringing will break the cycle of hate in the Malfoy family.
3. Dolores Umbridge was a half-blood.
The most hated character in the entire series (debatably even more hated than Voldemort himself) is Dolores Umbridge. Militant, phony, hypocritical, sadistic, and prejudiced, she presided over a court that persecuted Muggle-born wizards and witches in Book 7.
The irony of this, we later find out, is that Umbridge is a half blood witch herself. Her father was a wizard who worked for the Ministry as a custodian, but her mother was a Muggle; she also had a brother who was a squib. And during her childhood, the family split; the mother and brother rejoined and disappeared into the Muggle world, never to contact Umbridge again. Umbridge hated her mother for her Muggle roots, and she despised her father for his low station. When she began her rise to power, she persuaded her father to retire and lay low, and she began passing herself off as a pure blood to bolster her credentials.
2. We've been saying "Voldemort" wrong this whole time.
Everyone knows how to pronounce "Hermione" these days. But in the early days of the fandom, casual readers mispronounced it all the time. It wasn't until Rowling included the correct pronunciation in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Hermione teaches Viktor Krum how to say her name) that we learned "Her-my-oh-nee" was officially the right way to say it.
Voldemort, however, got no such scene in the books. And on Twitter, Rowling confirmed that the right way to pronounce "Voldemort" was with a silent "t." Rowling herself, however, conceded that she was alone in doing this--unless you count the official audiobooks, whose narrator, Jim Dale, pronounced the word Rowling's way while reading the early books, before finally caving to popular opinion and good sense in the later ones.
1. The Nagini was once a human.
And lastly, here's a revelation that's highly relevant to the new Fantastic Beasts film. In the new film, Claudia Kim performs the role of a woman named Nagini, who is a "Maledictus." According to J.K. Rowling, "Maledictuses are always women, whereas werewolves can be either sex. The Maledictus carries a blood curse from birth, which is passed down from mother to daughter."
For those of us who read the books, it's obvious where this is headed; Nagini's blood curse will eventually turn her permanently into a snake, and she will become Voldemort's seventh Horcrux. The only question, and the one fans will be dying to have answered, is how.
There are more massive revelations in Fantastic Beasts 2, but in the interest of avoiding spoilers, we'll leave it at that. Check out our Crimes of Grindelwald ending explained article if you want to know more.