Can you believe it’s actually been eight years since the last Harry Potter book was published? We now feel horrendously old. We also feel horrendously sad because that’s pretty much 3,000 days since we last read something new about our favourite boy wizard. But now, things are looking up. While J.K. Rowling may not be keen on a Harry-and-co sequel, she’s now released a short written history on Harry Potter’s backstory. Titled ‘The Potter Family‘, the piece is for the new and improved Pottermore website. And while it might just be 738 words, boy is it a good 738 words.
Harry Potter’s backstory in J.K. Rowling’s own words
So, I’m going to say it now: if you’re a casual Potter fan, you might not find this incredibly groundbreaking. However, if you’re a Potter-nut, you’ll more than likely lap it up. After all, it’s been far too long since we received any Potter facts from the mother of Hogwarts herself. These are just some of the burning questions Rowling answered for us:
Where does the ‘Potter’ name come from?
Rowling started Harry Potter’s backstory right at the very beginning. In the wizarding world, the Potters descended from a 12th-century wizard called Linfred of Stinchcombe. Linfred was perceived by his Muggle neighbours to be an eccentric, well-loved witch doctor who was able to whip up cures for various ailments including pox and ague. (Little did they know he was actually a potions master whose sales of remedies let him die a very rich man.) Linfred’s nickname became ‘the potterer’ as he was always ‘pottering about in his garden with all his funny plants.’ Over time, this nickname became corrupted to its current form: ‘Potter’.
Where did the invisibility cloak come from?
Linfred’s eldest son (Hardwin) married a witch called Iolanthe Peverell. She inherited the invisibility cloak from her grandfather, Ignotus Peverell. However, it was a family tradition that the existence of the cloak had to remain a secret. This tradition continued throughout the ages, discreetly being passed down to the eldest child in each new generation.
Where in England did the Potters live?
For several generations the Potters continued to live in the West of England – although occasionally a few family members made it over to the Big Smoke.
Why weren’t the Potters in the Sacred Twenty-Eight?
Firstly, let’s just clarify what the Sacred Twenty-Eight refers to: this was a list of 28 British families who were recognised as being ‘truly pure-blood’, and which was drawn up in the 1930s. These included the likes of the Weasleys, the Ollivanders, the Longbottoms, and *shivers* the Malfoys.
Henry Potter served on the Wizengamot from 1913 until 1921, but caused a bit of a stir for condemning the Minister for Magic for not allowing the magical community to help Muggles during the First World War. It was this outspokenness that contributed to the family becoming excluded from the Sacred Twenty-Eight.
What do we know about Harry Potter’s grandparents?
What have we found out? Well, for starters, both of Harry’s grandparents had pretty snazzy names. His grandfather was called Fleamont; his grandmother was Euphemia. But on to the real important bits: firstly, Fleamont made the family’s fortune by creating the magical Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion. And secondly, the couple thought they were unable to have children – so imagine their joy when Euphemia fell pregnant with a little boy: James Potter. While they lived long enough to see James marry Lily, they passed away from Dragon pox within days of each other. And then, of course, James inherited the family’s big heirloom: the invisibility cloak. The rest, as they say, is history.
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