When Warner Bros. announced nearly two decades ago that they would be adapting J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of novels for the big screen, fans of all ages around the world wondered how the movie franchise would turn out. The result was explosive. The Harry Potter movies were an enormous success, drawing in even more fans to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and making the magical tale one of the biggest movies franchises and series of novels ever made.
Each and every movie in the Harry Potter franchise was made with impressive attention to design and detail. Viewers can catch new and exciting background details, Harry Potter Easter eggs, and other interesting tidbits each time they watch. There are even details in the Harry Potter movie franchise that the most devoted fans of the series have never noticed.
The Trophy Case
Harry’s Quidditch skills are recognized very early on in his career as a Hogwarts student, and it’s Professor Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House, that spots Harry’s talents when he takes off on a broom against the teacher’s instructions to help Neville retrieve his remembrall.
As it turns out, director Chris Columbus placed one of the easiest to miss Harry Potter Easter eggs in the movie to indicate that McGonagall had Quidditch skills of her own. When Harry expresses anxieties over his playing skills in the first movie, Hermione insists that he’ll be good at the game because it’s in his blood. She then brings Harry and Ron to Hogwarts’ trophy display where she points out that Harry’s father James won an award for his Quidditch skills when he was a student. A smaller plaque to the right of James Potter’s name reveals that McGonagall herself also won a Quidditch award as a young student in 1971.
After Harry and friends get settled at Hogwarts, there’s a scene depicting owls flying through the castle, dropping off their mail. The ever-forgetful Neville Longbottom is gifted a rememberall, a magical item that fills with red smoke when the user has forgotten something. The only problem, as Neville points out, is that he can’t remember what it is that he’s forgotten.
Eagle-eyed viewers may be able to point out exactly what it is that Neville can’t seem to remember. All the other students in the scene are wearing their black cloaks, but it looks like Neville misplaced his.
Newt Scamander and The Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter fans around the globe were thrilled at the return of the franchise to the big screen with the 2016 movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which followed Newt Scamander as he traveled across the Atlantic to America and then tracked down his lost beasts. However, few fans realize that this was actually Scamander’s second appearance in a Harry Potter movie.
When Fred and George Weasley gift Harry the infamous Marauder’s Map during the movie and show Harry how to operate it, the map reveals the whereabouts of every witch and wizard in Hogwarts. Newt Scamander’s name can actually be seen walking the halls of the wizarding school on the map in the center right area. This means that Scamander visited Hogwarts while Harry was a student during the events of the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The Mirror Of Erised Decoded
In a heartbreaking scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry sees his mother and father in the mirror standing next to him, smiling proudly. Thinking the mirror is the key to communicating to his parents, he rushes to tell his friend Ron, but, when Ron is brought to the mirror, he sees images that are completely different. Dumbledore later explains to the confused young Potter that he is seeing his parents, who have passed away, because the mirror shows an individual’s deepest and most personal desires.
When Harry first discovers the Mirror of Erised, the camera pans around the border of the magical object to show that the gold frame has some words carved into it. On first glance, the words appear to be complete gibberish since they aren’t from any recognizable language. However, they do have some significance. If the words framing the mirror are spelled backwards, it spells out, “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.”
The Novels Appear In One Of The Movies
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Weasly family uses a Floo network to magically transport themselves to Diagon Alley by way of their fireplace. However, Harry fumbles the prenunciation of Diagon Alley before teleporting, causing him to arrive in the shady Knockturn alley. Fortunately, he’s quickly resuced by Hagrid.
While making their way back to Diagon Alley, Harry and Hagrid pass a bookstore with an interesting display. Those who look closely may notice that the Harry Potter novels can be seen in the window of the store. Harry certainly could have gained quite a bit of insight about his formative years had he popped in and given them a look.
Lucius Malfoy’s Curse at Harry
One of the most despicable villains in the Harry Potter franchise is Draco’s father Lucius Malfoy, potrayed expertly by actor Jason Isaacs. He makes his first appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and is the catalyst for the movie’s events, planting Tom Riddle’s diary in Ginny Weasley’s possession in the beginning of the story. When Harry confronts him on the dark deed at the end of the movie, Malfoy denies it at first and grows angrier as Harry pushes the issue. Draco’s father really looses it when Harry tricks him into giving Dobby a sock, freeing the house elf from the Malfoy’s service.
Lucius Malfoy actually becomes so angry during this confrontation that he whips out his wand and threatens Harry with it, actually going so far as to begin to say a curse before he is interrupted by Dobby. Keen listeners can actually hear the evil Malfoy saying, “Avada,” meaning that he was actually about to deliver the “Avada Kedavra” spell, which is one of the three Unforgivable Curses.
The Millennium Bridge Mystery
By the Potter franchise’s sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, things in Rowling’s wizarding world had basically descended into chaos. Voldemort was back and stronger than ever, ready to take over and exact revenge on Harry Potter. As one of the darkest movies of the entire franchise, The Half-Blood Prince opens with a group of Voldemort’s followers descending down on London and wreaking havoc, destroying one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Millennium Bridge, in the process.
As thrilling as the sequence is, there’s one problem with this scene. The events of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are supposed to be set in the late 1990s. Yet, London’s famous Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000, meaning that the bridge actually didn’t exist when The Half-Blood Prince took place.
The Marauder’s Map Misspelling
Partway through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fred and George Weasly give Harry the Marauder’s Map, a magical item that tracks the movements of every being in Hogwarts castle.
When Harry is first given the map, a shot shows the front cover of the map with the nicknames of all the creators—Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs—but viewers with a sharp eye might catch the fact that the name “Moony” is misspelled “Mooney.” According to IMDb, this is actually done on purpose. Filmmakers had some fun slipping in a reference to the movie’s visual effects supervisor, Karl Mooney.
The Goblet of Fire’s End Credits
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Rowling’s storyline offers some critique and commentary on the treatment of animals in the entertainment indsustry. The night before the first Triwizard Tornement event, the dragons are shown in small cages being poked and prodded by their handlers before being exploited for wizarding entertainment the next day.
However, director Mike Newell wanted to assure audiences that they had treated their fantastical creatures right. If viewers have the patience to wait until the very end of The Goblet of Fire, they can catch an amusing detail that Newell and his team snuck into the credits. There’s a line in the end credits that assures Potter fans that “no dragons were harmed in the making of this movie.”
Wizard Breakfast Foods
The Harry Potter novels and films are famed for their dedication to worldbuilding, and one of the best examples comes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The huge set built for Hogwarts’ dining hall is impressive in its own right, but it’s the small details that really make it special. Not only is all of the food viewers see on screen real, but filmmakers actually invented brands of food that could be bought in the wizarding world.
In a scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are walking down the Great Hall, a box of “Cheeri-Owls” can be seen to the left with Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang. The brand that supposedly makes “Cheeri-Owls,” Lunfrey, can even be seen on the box as well.
The Ministry of Magic’s Access Code
As Hary and Arthur Weasly make their way to the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mr. Weasley marvels at all of the different muggle innovations such as underground public transport and bicycles as Harry helps him navigate the normal side of London. However, once they reach a certain telephone booth, it’s Mr. Weasley’s turn to shock Harry with a different type of innovation.
As it turns out, this particular iconic red telephone booth in London is actually the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic. In order to access the entrance, Mr. Weasley puts in some money and quickly dials 6-2-4-4-2. This actually spells out m-a-g-i-c—magic—on a telephone’s number pad.
Harry’s Quidditch Captain Number
With Harry’s talent in the game and his father’s own established skills, Quidditch is a big deal in the Harry Potter franchise. So, it’s an exciting plot point when Harry finally becomes Gryffindor’s Quidditch Team Captain in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The significance of the moment was not wasted by filmmakers, who slipped in a small instance of foreshadowing through Harry’s costuming. Harry’s number as Quidditch Captain was 7. This can be taken as a detail foreshadowing his role as the seventh of Voldemort’s horcruxes.
Gilderoy Lockhart’s Baldness
Easily one of the best and most entertaining performances throughout the whole Harry Potter movie series is Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Harry’s second-year Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Though Lockhart is a wizard famed for his extravagant exploits and adventures around the world, he is exposed as a complete fraud when he is tasked with saving Ginny Weasley in the Chamber of Secrets and is caught by Harry and his friend Ron trying to flee the wizarding school.
However, director Chris Columbus wanted to add even more depth and detail to Lockhart’s despicable lies. In order to do so, he and his set designers added some subtle hints in Lockhart’s office to visually suggest to audience members that Lockhart is telling even more lies than they are first aware of. A prime example of this lies on Lockhart’s desk. If viewers look to the left of the screen when Harry and Ron confront and corner their Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in his office, they can catch a luxurious blonde wig sitting on display on Lockhart’s desk.
Stephen Hawking in the Wizarding World
In the Harry Potter movies, witches and wizards are rarely seen interacting with muggle objects, and, when they are—such as in the case of Arthur Weasley—they are typically fascinated by the simple and baffling technologies muggles invented to navigate their daily lives. However, it would appear that some wizards actually indulge in muggle literature and read the books non-magic people have to offer. This is proven in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
After Harry runs away from the Dursleys, he takes up lodge at The Leaky Cauldron. In an effort to make the pub more authentic, director Alfonso Cuarón included some footage portraying some of the scenes patrons might catch on a daily basis at The Leaky Cauldron. This includes a wizard nonchelantly reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
Professor Slughorn’s Wand
In the Harry Potter mythos, it is always stressed that a wand reflects its witch or wizard and is deeply tied to its owner’s personality, character, and spirit. This is certainly true for Professor Slughorn, whose wand captures exactly how such an instrument can function in this way and how much time the artists behind the Harry Potter franchise put into even the smallest of details.
It’s difficult to catch, but Slughorn’s wand has some interesting and revealing details. The tip of the handle comes out in two round prong shapes, which can be interpreted either as a slug head or a pair of horns. Additionally, Slughorn’s wand has some interesting decorations. It’s encased in metal and painted with black and silver, reflecting his surface-level fixations on luxury.
The Beauxbaton’s Dance Skills
Students of the Bauxbatons Academy of Magic, a wizarding school in the Pyrenees mountain range in Europe, are known for their magic skills, intelligence, and grace. Their elegant introduction in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of the most memorable scenes of the entire movie, and the students’ delicate dancing captures the attention of all Hogwarts students as the Bauxbatons skip into the Great Hall.
However, these impressive European witches are caught dancing a far less elegant routine later on in the movie. Near the climax of The Goblet of Fire, as the contestants are prepping for the third and final event of the Triwizard Tournament, students from all three schools are gathered around the entrance of the hedge maze to cheer on the contenders. These European students of magic are actually dancing a more stylized version of the muggle dance, the Macarena. This is probably the last dance anyone would ever expect such stylish witches to perform.
A Chess Game’s Foreshadowing
There’s a great deal of foreshadowing all throughout the Harry Potter franchise, and filmmakers of the series have used visuals to hint at audience members of what is to come in the future since the very beginning. One example of this method is associated with wizard’s chess in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A good portion of this movie sees Harry learning about different aspects to the wizarding lifestyle. His friend Ron Weasley helps him learn many different things, one of which includes how wizards spend their leisure time.
At one point in the movie, Ron teaches Harry the violent board game of wizard’s chess in which the chess pieces destroy each other when one side is defeated. During this game, Ron’s queen captures one of Harry’s knights. This seemingly minor scene actually foreshadows one of the climax scenes of the movie later on. One of the tasks Ron, Harry, and Hermione must complete in order to retrieve the Sorcerer’s Stone involves a life-sized game of wizard’s chess.
The Deathly Hallows’ Early Appearance
While many instances of foreshadowing through the Harry Potter franchise occur to hint viewers towards later events in the same movie, there is one instance where an early film hints towards a crucial element of the final two movies. It occurs in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Dumbledore counsels Harry on the truth behind Barty Crouch, Jr. before the Triwizard Tournament’s final event.
The two are in Dumbledore’s office for the discussion. In one shot, Dumbledore turns to face a glass display case with various magical objects. To the left of the frame, a pyramid with a circle in the middle can be seen, which is actually the insignia for the Deathly Hallows that becomes so crucial later on in the franchise. Eagle-eyed fans will have picked up on this Harry Potter Easter egg.
A Mic Mistake
Producing the sound design for feature movies is more difficult than many suspect. It is notoriously difficult for filmmakers to capture all of the sound they need on set on the days of shooting, so many directors opt to ADR in post. However, this is also expensive. To cut down on costs, some filmmakers get innovative. One such director is Alfonso Cuarón, who decided to use microphone packs on his actors in certain scenes of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in order to cut down on post production costs.
Of course, even the best directors make mistakes. While many consider The Prisoner of Azkaban to be among the best movie of the entire Harry Potter film franchise, the movie does include one little mistake. In the scene where Hermione and Harry use the Time Turner to go back in time and save Buckbeak from his unfortunate fate, both actors’ microphone packs can be seen under their shirts on their back as they creep around Hagrid’s pumpkin garden and attempt to get Buckbeak untied.
Tom Felton’s Girlfriend
The concluding sequence of the entire franchise features Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron whisking off their own young children to Hogwarts at King’s Cross Station in London. A brief glimpse of Draco Malfoy, his wife, and his own son can also be seen in this sequence.
As it would turn out, there’s a special story behind Malfoy’s wife in this scene. The character was actually played by Tom Felton’s real-life girlfriend at the time, Jade Olivia. Olivia was a stunt assistant on the Harry Potter movies and had been dating Felton for some years before the final installment of the franchise.
Ron’s Fixation on Hermione
Watching Hermione and Ron develop their growing romance over the course of the Harry Potter movies is one of the most entertaining and heartwarming aspects of the franchise. Even though their romantic feelings towards each other aren’t directly hinted at until the fourth movie, there are some subtle suggestions of hidden feelings in The Prisoner of Azkaban that can be easy to miss.
One of the biggest plot points of The Prisoner of Azkaban involves Hermione’s ability to time travel using the Time Turner. She randomly appears in and out of scenes throughout the movie before her ability is revealed, resulting in some amusing moments where an utterly confused Ron can’t seem to figure out where Hermione keeps popping in from. Interestingly, Ron is the only character throughout the entirety of The Prisoner of Azkaban who seems to notice that Hermione isn’t always around, implying that he was paying more attention to Hermione than anyone else.
Harry’s Yule Ball Secret
The beautiful and elaborately designed Yule Ball scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of the most visually stunning in the entire series. The scene manages to both capture the awkward nature of school dances and the magic of the Hogwarts lifestyle at the same time. However, there is something peculiar about how Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter is portrayed during this lovely Yule Ball scene. It’s nearly impossible to catch, but Radcliffe was actually filmed in a different manner than all of the other characters.
In a behind the scenes documentary, Radcliffe revealed that he had some trouble learning the dance choreography all because of his tight filming schedule. Because the young actor was having trouble even with all of his hard work, filmmakers decided to shoot Harry in exclusively medium shots above the waist so that viewers would not be able to see any of Radcliffe’s mistakes.
Deathly Hallows’ Danielle Radcliffe Reference
In efforts to combat his public perception as a child star and prove that he could take on other, more serious roles, Radcliffe took the ambitious lead role in the famous stage play Equus in 2006. Radcliffe impressed theater critics from all over with his nuanced performance. The Harry Potter family was so proud of the lead actor’s success outside of the franchise that they placed a little background detail in the movies to commemorate Radcliffe’s work.
It would take a quick eye to catch it, but this Harry Potter Easter egg comes during one of the most action-packed scenes in The Deathly Hallows Part 1. While Harry, Hermione, and Ron are dueling two wizards in a London café, a poster for Radcliffe’s play can be seen tacked up on a display board in the background.
The Leaky Cauldron’s Tricky Sign
One of the best examples of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus’s expert eye for surprising details comes early on in the film when Hagrid is giving Harry a tour of the wizarding lifestyle during a day in Diagon Alley. One of their main stops during this day out is at the popular wizarding pub that later becomes one of Harry’s own favorite spots, The Leaky Cauldron.
If viewers pay attention to the upper left-hand screen, they can see that the sign for The Leaky Cauldron starts off blank and black. However, the sign’s gold decorations reveal themselves once Harry and Hagrid start approaching, meaning The Leaky Cauldron has an enchanted sign that remains blank unless wizards approach in order to ward off muggles.
Snape’s Coded Message to Harry
During an early scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Snape dramatically barges into the room and gives a lengthy, intimidating monologue about how potions is a complex subject that will cause many students to fail. When he notices that Harry is taking notes and thinks that the young Potter is ignoring him, Snape barrages Harry with a series of questions and embarrasses him in front of the class when Harry can’t come up with the answers.
However, while this interrogation at first seems to be unfair and cruel to Harry, there is actually a coded message in Snape’s comments. One of the questions Snape asks is if Harry knows what would result in adding the powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood. Harry doesn’t know the answer—but that’s not the important part. This is actually a coded comment that would be lost on all viewers that don’t have extensive knowledge of Victorian-era flower symbolism. Asphodel is a lily, which means demise under the Victorian flower code, while wormwood reflects loss and absence.
Links: 25 Things Even Potterheads Completely Missed In The Harry Potter Movies – Tekmonk Bio, 25 Things Even Potterheads Completely Missed In The Harry Potter Movies – Kungfutv, 25 Things Even Potterheads Completely Missed In The Harry Potter Movies – Hot News