As we rapidly approach the release date of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov 18th in the US), Geek Girl Authority thought it was an appropriate time to do a quick Harry Potter Extravaganza recap. It’s not just for all you diehard fans out there, but for newbies who might be a little overwhelmed at where to start. Just start here. Don’t worry. It’ll all be ok. We promise.
(Warning: Minimal Spoilers Below; but still, spoilers nonetheless!)
What exactly is Harry Potter?:
● For anyone living under a rock, Harry Potter is the main character in a story written by J.K. Rowling about a boy who lived through a traumatic battle with the dark lord, Voldemort. Though the fight killed both his parents, he later grows up to discover his wizarding powers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Who are the primary characters?
● Harry Potter: Recognizable from his lightning scar on his forehead, Harry is the main character of all the books. Raised by his horrid Aunt and Uncle, he doesn’t understand who he is or what his significance is to the wizarding world until Hagrid comes to find him in the very beginning of Book 1.
● Rubeus Hagrid: the Gamekeeper and keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. He is half-giant, half-human, with a fondness for terrifying, misunderstood creatures.
● Hermione Granger: A Muggle-born (Muggle=non magical) and an overachiever, Hermione’s parents are both dentists. She meets and befriends Harry on board the Hogwarts Express and they become fast friends. Hermione is clever, intelligent and an excellent ally.
● Ron Weasley: A mirror of Rowling’s best friend in real life, Ron is Harry’s other best friend, a sidekick of sorts, and provides much comic relief. He comes from a large family and is easily recognizable by his bright red hair.
● Albus Dumbledore: “The epitome of goodness”, Dumbledore is the Headmaster at Hogwarts. He is often shrouded in mystery, but he is also a champion for Harry. He’s also widely known as being one of the most powerful wizards of this world.
● Minerva McGonagall: Head of Gryffindor House and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts duty Dumbledore’s absence, she is strict and disciplined. She is also one of Harry’s allies, and according to JK Rowling, “Under that gruff exterior, Professor
● Severus Snape: Is he friend or is he foe? Severus Snape, head of Slytherin, hates Harry from the beginning and endeavors to make his life miserable. We first meet him as Harry’s Defense of the Dark Arts professor, but he also went to school with Harry’s parents, Lily and James.
● Draco Malfoy: Harry’s nemesis, and member of Slytherin house, Draco can only be described as a bully and a spoiled, rich brat. He knows exactly what will hurt Harry and he uses that as his weapon throughout the series.
● Voldemort: He wasn’t always the Dark Lord. Once he was just Tom Malvolo Riddle, student at Hogwarts. But he became obsessed with the “pure blood” sanctity of witches and wizards. Eventually he leads a group of them (the Death Eaters) in a battle to rid the world of muggles.
Quick Facts about JK Rowling (author):
● Rowling conceived of the idea for Harry Potter while waiting for a delayed train. She was too shy to ask for a pen to write anything down, but she recalls being excited about the ideas.
● Much of the people, places and things in the Harry Potter books reflect Rowling’s own life. For example, Rowling’s mother passed away in December of 1990. It changed the tone of the books, especially the death of Harry’s mother, Lily.
● She went through a divorce in 1993 and began raising her daughter as a single parent.
● She was rejected by 12 major publishing houses.
● The book was an instant success.
Quick facts about the Harry Potter books:
● Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) is the story of a shy young boy who lives in the cupboard under the stairs who discovers he is really a wizard, and the lightning scar on his forehead is from a battle he had as a baby with the evil Lord Voldemort. He travels to the wizarding school of Hogwarts to study magic. He also be befriends two other students who would become his trusted friends, Ron and Hermione.
● Book 2: In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry finds a mysterious diary belonging to Tom Riddle, which leads him to the discovery of a place deep down beneath Hogwarts known as the Chamber of Secrets.
● Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban explores Harry’s year at Hogwarts where he comes to meet Remus Lupin-the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher. And it’s just in time, too, because Sirius Black (Voldemort’s minion) has escaped from Azkaban and on the hunt for Harry.
● Book 4: In his fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry competes in the death defying Triwizard Tournament and has his closest and most dangerous encounter with Voldemort yet.
● Book 5: Five years into his time at Hogwarts, we find Harry encountering a secret society in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This organization has been reactivated to defend wizards against Voldemort. And Harry is fighting his own battle at Hogwarts against the high Inquisitor of Hogwarts, Dolores Umbridge. It spurns him to start his own secret society, entitled “Dumbledore’s Army”, after the school’s headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
● Book 6: Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince sees Harry in his sixth year at Hogwarts where he’s dealing with the onset of adolescence. He also stumbles upon some dark secrets of Albus Dumbledore and the head of Slytherin, Severus Snape. By the end of the book, a main character is killed.
● Book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the culmination of the 7-book series. Harry and his friends drop out of school to fight the Dark Lord and learn more secrets about Professor Snape. Harry and Voldemort have their final reckoning.
● Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story published in the Potter world and is the official script for the live production in London. Written by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling, it is the story of the descendants of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Albus Potter, Rose Granger-Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy embark on their own adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Quick fun facts about the Harry Potter Films:
● Emma Watson won the role of Hermione Granger after 9 separate auditions. The initial one was held at her school, and she was the last one to go. But that’s what started the ball rolling.
● Daniel Radcliffe won the role of Harry Potter in 2000. His parents initially considered turning the role down as it would have required them to sign on for 6 movies to be filmed in the Los Angeles area. But the contract changed to 2 films in the UK. His audition was just as adorable as you might imagine.
● Daniel Radcliffe went through 160 pairs of prop glasses by the end of filming.
Quick Facts about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
● The movie is about four heroes: Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston, Queenie (Alison Sudole) and Jacob (Dan Folger).
● It’s set in 1926 New York City.
● The storyline has connections to the Salem Witch Trials, referring to the condemning and brutal execution of people believed to be witches that took place in Massachusetts in the 1690’s.
● We’ll catch a glimpse of the US Ministry of Magic, or MACUSA!
● While in Hogwarts, Newt was a Hufflepuff. Other well known Hufflepuffs include Nymphadora Tonks and Cedric Diggory.
● American Muggles are called “No-mag” (short for No Magic).
● Director David Yates says this film is slightly more “grown up” than the previous films.
Well, we don’t know about you guys, but we are thrilled to check this new movie out. Send us your thoughts and reviews once you’ve seen it!