15 Details In The Harry Potter Books You Missed The First Time Around

1. “Hagrid,” said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. “At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?”

“Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” said the giant, climbing off the motorcycle as he spoke. “Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.”

Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Okay, okay, I know. This is the easy one, the Easter egg that everyone knows. It’s in the first few pages of the very first chapter, after all. Still, even if everyone’s pieced together the fact that Sirius gave Hagrid the bike so he could go off and chase down Wormtail and thus begins the entire trajectory of Azkaban, look closer. J.K. calls the massive man with the trash-cans for hands and baby dolphins for feet a giant. She calls Hagrid a giant in the very beginning of the book. And clearly, if you see someone who is just that large, chances are good you would call them a giant too, and think nothing of it. (Little do you — okay, if a dude has hands like trashcan lids, chances are good there is something up there, but hey, it’s his legacy to tell.)

2. “… After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great.”

Harry shivered. He wasn’t sure he liked Mr. Ollivander too much. He paid seven gold Galleons for his wand, and Mr. Ollivander bowed them from his shop.

Chapter 5: Diagon Alley, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry’s vague mistrust for Ollivander shows up almost verbatim in The Deathly Hallows, but it’s still interesting to see how Rowling planted this one small sense of foreboding into a scene that is essentially one of the most magic things to happen to Harry in the entire book. The wand, after all, is his entryway into the Wizarding world, and to drop something so innocuously into an otherwise very happy scene is like sneaking drugstore candy into a movie theater.

Also, shout out to paying 7 Galleons, because 7 is the magic number and the number of horcruxes Harry’s wand’s twin makes and, and, and, you get it, etc.

3. At times, he even wondered whether Snape was following him, trying to catch him on his own. Potions lessons were turning into a sort of weekly torture. Snape was so horrible to Harry. Could Snape possibly know they’d found out about the Sorcerer’s Stone? Harry didn’t see how he could — yet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.

Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone


4. They chose the one nearest a gold-colored cauldron that was emitting one of the most seductive scents Harry had ever inhaled: Somehow it reminded him simultaneously of treacle tart, the woody smell of a broomstick handle, and something flowery he thought he might have smelled at the Burrow.

Chapter 9: The Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

A) The something flowery is Ginny’s perfume.

B) Kreacher makes Harry’s favorite treacle tart for him at Grimmauld Place once they reconcile. (This is more of a coincidence than an Easter egg, but look, if you make me my favorite dessert, I will forgive even the bitterest of enemies.)

5. “You all right?” said Bill, grinning at Harry and shaking his hand. “Charlie wanted to come, but he couldn’t get time off. He said you were incredible against the Horntail.”

Fleur Delacour, Harry noticed, was eyeing Bill with great interest over her mother’s shoulder. Harry could tell she had no objection whatsoever to long hair or earrings with fangs on them.

Chapter 31: The Third Task, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Yes, we know that Fleur and Bill wind up married, and it’s a huge point of contention for Mrs. Weasley and the flowery-smelling Ginny for a book or so, but you do have to hand it to J.K Rowling for just weaving details like this in when they’d be completely in line with character development. Every mention of Fleur, who’s already been caught making out with Roger Davies and has a certain effect on men, would fail the Bechdel test on every level, but she is sassy and redeems herself at Shell Cottage, so we’ll let this slide.

6. “Potter!” said Snape suddenly. “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced at Ron, who looked as stumped as he was; Hermione’s hand shot into the air.

Chapter 8: The The Potions Master, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

An asphodel is a lily that is closely associated with Persephone, queen of the underworld. You typically give them to people in sympathy of a loved one’s death. Wormwood is a flower that means bitter sorrow. If you mix the two, Snape goes on to tell Harry, you’ll create a sleeping potion known as the Draught of Living Death, but more to the point —

Snape. Bitterly. Regrets. Lily’s. Death. (After all this time? Always.)

7. He found it hard to concentrate on Snape’s Potions test, and consequently forgot to add the key ingredient — a bezoar — meaning that he received bottom marks. He didn’t care, though; he was too busy screwing up his courage for what he was about to do.

Chapter 22: The Unexpected Task, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

On top of the fact that Snape mentions a bezoar in the same breath as when he mentions his regret for Lily’s death in Book 1, Harry also forgets a bezoar — the uncanny little stone that could save people from most poisons — in the fourth book. Clearly, this thing isn’t important to him until it is the most important thing ever and Ron needs to be saved from poison, but the fact that it keeps cropping up is downright cheeky of Rowling to do. Yeah, I said it. Cheeky.

8. Viktor Krum got up and slouched, round-shouldered and duck-footed, toward Mr. Ollivander. He thrust out his wand and stood scowling, with his hands in the pockets of his robes.

“Hmm,” said Mr. Ollivander, “this is a Gregorovich creation, unless I’m much mistaken? A find wandmaker, though the styling is never quite what I… however…”

He lifted the wand and examined it minutely, turning it over and over before his eyes.

“Yes… hornbeam and dragon heartstring?” he shot at Krum, who nodded. “Rather thicker than one usually sees… quite rigid… ten and a quarter inches. Avis!”

The hornbeam wand let off a blast like a gun, and a number of small, twittering birds flew out of the end and through the open window into the watery sunlight.

Chapter 18: The Weighing Of The Wands, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Although Harry remembers that he heard about Gregorovitch at the Weighing of the Wands when Krum quasi-crashes Fleur and Bill’s wedding (shout out to cousin Barny), the hints that Gregorovitch was trying unorthodox wand-making practices fit with his studying the Elder Wand. It’s even possible that this aside from Ollivander was a healthy dose of shade for Gregorovitch’s rumor that he had the Elder Wand in his possession.

My favorite part of this passage, however, lies in the fact that Ollivander sends a ton of little birds out of Krum’s wand. Ron later gets very angry at Hermione for dating Krum, who later gets very angry at Ron for dating Lavender, and sets a lot of twittering birds on Ron. Unrequited love is the #darkest Magic, after all.

9. “The way he talks,” Harry muttered as he hobbled out of the Defense Against The Dark Arts class an hour later (Moody had insisted on putting Harry through his paces four times in a row, until Harry could throw off the curse entirely), “you’d think we were all going to be attacked any second.”

“Yeah, I know,” said Ron, who was skipping on every alternate step. He had had much more difficulty with the curse than Harry, though Moody assured him the effects would wear off by lunchtime.

Chapter 15: Beauxbatons And Durmstrang, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Ron will also later be heavily influenced by the locket horcrux that sees his fears and plants the seed in his mind that Hermione will end up choosing Harry over him. the fact that Ron is one of seven children (again with the magical number) means that he’s been easily influenced by his family all his life, which is a great skill to have in a loyal friendship, but sometimes not exactly what works best in the face of dark magic.

10. They found an unpleasant-looking silver instrument, something like a many-legged pair of tweezers, which scuttled up Harry’s arm like a spider when he picked it up, and attempted to puncture his skin; Sirius seized it and smashed it with a heavy book entitled Nature’s Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy. There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; also a heavy locket that none of them could open, a number of ancient seals, and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius’s grandfather for “Services to the Ministry.”

Chapter 6: The Noble And Most Ancient House Of Black, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

On top of burying the locket-horcrux in the complete mound of everything that’s sinister and evil in Grimmauld Place, Sirius uses a book that Hermione later saves as a reference guide in her beaded, Mary Poppins-esque bag in Book 7. (Chances are good they could have also discovered who Gregorovitch, Ignotius Peverell, and R.A.B. were in that book, but hey, even the smartest witch of her age has limitations, I guess.)

11. Hermione’s Patronus, a shining silver otter, was gamboling around her.

“They are sort of nice, aren’t they?” she said, looking at it fondly.

Chapter 27: The Centaur And The Sneak, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

An otter is a member of the weasel family.

Also, Ron’s Patronus, a Jack Russell terrier, is known to chase otters (on top of being fiercely loyal pets, and Ron is a fiercely loyal friend.) And I mean, if you have a love story spanning seven whole books, yeah, there’s a bit of a chase involved there. Just a litte bit. A smidge. Regardless, my point here is that, much as James Potter’s Patronus was a stag and Lily’s was a doe, Ron and Hermione were soulmates.

(Honorary shout-out to Ginny’s Patronus, a horse, which sort of resembles a stag, if you know what I mean.)

12. Professor Trelawney, however, did not sit down; her enormous eyes had been roving around the table, and she suddenly uttered a kind of soft scream.

“I dare not, Headmaster! If I join the table, we shall be thirteen! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!”

Chapter 11: The Firebolt, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Later in the Christmas dinner, Professor Trelawney asks where Lupin is — it’s a full moon, so Dumbledore excuses his absence by saying he’s under the weather. But in Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior) of Book 7, Bill makes a point to conjure 13 glasses of firewhiskey to toast Mad Eye Moody, and Lupin is the first to put his glass down, thereby rising and leaving the party. (RIP)

13. “Yeah,” said Hagrid, glancing up, too. “Listen, I’m glad we’ve run inter yeh, Ronan, ’cause there’s a unicorn bin hurt — you seen anythin’?”

Ronan didn’t answer immediately. He stared unblinkingly upward, then sighed again.

“Always the innocent are the first victims,” he said. “So it has been for ages past, so it is now.”

Chapter 15: The Forbidden Forest, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Cedric’s wand is made of unicorn hair, which he mentions at The Weighing Of The Wands in Book 4. He is also the first to die, and Wormtail, who has “nothing to lose, and everything to gain” kills Cedric on Voldemort’s orders. To “kill the spare,” as Voldemort demands in Book 4, “will keep [Wormtail] alive, even if [he] is an inch from death” — and let’s face it, being Voldemort’s simpering, bumbling right-hand man means he’s constantly an inch from death. Moreover because he has “slain something pure and defenseless to save [himself… he] will have but a half-life, a cursed life,” which eventually culminated in his magic hand strangling him.

That, and Cedric (okay, Robert Pattinson) is a pretty, pretty unicorn, amirite laydeez??

14. “I have had it all tested for poison,” he assured Harry, pouring most of the first bottle into one of Hagrid’s bucket-sized mugs and handing it to Hagrid. “Had a house-elf taste every bottle after what happened to your poor friend Rupert.”

Chapter 22: After The Burial, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Ron’s name isn’t Rupert, which is not a detail the fame-hungry Slughorn would be bothered to remember. But you want to know whose name is Rupert? Rupert Grint, who plays Ron in all 8 movies. Whether this is life imitating art, art imitating art or just plain Inception is your call.

15. It was not at all like the Three Broomsticks, whose large bar gave an impression of gleaming warmth and cleanliness. The Hog’s Head bar comprised one small, dingy, and very dirty room that smelled strongly of something that might have been goats.


The barman sidled toward them out of a back room. He was a grumpy-looking old man with a great deal of long gray hair and beard. He was tall and thin and looked vaguely familiar to Harry.

Chapter 16: The Hog’s Head, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

In retrospect, how many people does J.K. Rowling describe as being tall and thin? One. Dumbledore. (Okay, maybe two, but I am only actively mentioning this Ronbledore is a real thing and I support this greatly.) But she mentions Dumbledore being tall and thin and having a great deal of hair in the first book when he appears on Privet Drive, and in subsequent books. From the get-go, we know Dumbledore is tall and thin and has tons of hair. This is his tell.

The fact that we did not piece Dumbledore’s only previous mention of his brother Aberforth — “My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat. It was all over the papers, but did Aberforth hide? No, he did not! He held his head high and went about his business as usual! Of course, I’m not entirely sure he can read, so that might not have been bravery…” (Chapter 24, Rita Skeeter’s Scoop, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire — with this resurgence of goats is understandable, but still. Goats. Goats. Of course Aberforth runs the Hog’s Head. Of course he does. Well played, Joanne. Well played. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Check out How To Be Adorkable And Other 20-Something Concerns for even more feel-good nostalgia for the perma-nerd in you here.


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