150 Things You Didn’t Know About the Harry Potter Movies

Join us on an exhausting trivia tour of the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter series and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

Filling in the backstory of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is the tenth film in the franchise to date. Coming after the epic filmmaking endeavor that saw the seven Harry Potter books turned into global blockbusters, there’s a heck of a lot to look at in terms of development, behind the scenes trivia, and details in the films themselves.

Just in case you’re headed to a themed pub quiz any time soon, we’ve collected just 150 of these facts for you. Hopefully, it’s a mix of some stuff you know, some stuff you’ve never noticed before, and something or other than will give you an edge over those guys at the bar calling themselves The Quizzoners of Azkaban.

Which roles did Rik Mayall, Kate Winslet, and Robson Green almost play? What’s up with that station guard at King’s Cross? And when are the films set, anyway? The answers to all of these questions and more are collected below, in a Golden Snitch’s worth of facts, trivia bits, and Easter eggs from the cinematic Potterverse…

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Casting a spell

Warner Bros. acquired the rights to Rowling’s novels for the sum of $1 million in the year 2000 – here are some bits and bobs about the franchise’s development, and the actors who brought the characters to life…

1. Producer David Heyman optioned Rowling’s book in 2000, with studios lining up to bag the rights. Now better known for the Transformers movies, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura was instrumental in bringing the project to Warner Bros. Rowling had previously turned down Michael Jackson’s interest in turning the books into a musical.

2. Warner originally looked at making animated films of the books, or otherwise condensing some of the books into one film. Rowling sold the rights for $1 million, with the stipulation that the studio could only make films based on her existing stories and only British and Irish actors would be cast.

3. Steven Spielberg famously passed on the project, stating that the success of the books made it an open goal. Other directors considered included Rob Reiner and Ivan Reitman. Rowling’s personal favorite candidate was Terry Gilliam, who later criticized the pedestrian nature of the films.

4. Due to his success in working with child actors on Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, Chris Columbus was chosen to direct. Columbus also wrote another boarding school whodunnit, 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes, excerpts of which were used in the open auditions for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

5. Columbus offered the lead role to Liam Aiken, with whom he had worked on Stepmom, but then immediately had to withdraw it because he wasn’t British. Having seen him the BBC’s version of David Copperfield, Columbus became determined to hire Daniel Radcliffe and was eventually successful. Throughout the entire series, Radcliffe broke 80 pairs of prop wands and got through 160 pairs of glasses.

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6. Meanwhile, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were both discovered through the nationwide casting call. Watson was referred by her Oxford theatre teacher while Grint applied after seeing the auditions advertised on CBBC’s Newsround.

7. Several of Rowling’s ideal casting choices came through, and despite the secrecy around the plot of her as-yet-unreleased books, she told Alan Rickman how Snape’s story would pan out in advance. He’s the only cast member who knows what happens to his character at the end in these early movies and with that in mind, it’s fascinating to watch him perform.

8. Screenwriter Steve Kloves, who wrote all but one of the films, says his favorite character was Hermione. This was a big part of him winning over Rowling, and the pair exchanged emails about the stories throughout the writing, on subjects including the 12 uses of dragon’s blood.

9. Robbie Coltrane plays Hagrid. Throughout the series, he’s doubled by 6’10” rugby player and Celebrity Masterchef finalist Martin Bayfield in reverse shots, and his hut existed across two sets – one regular-sized and one with larger props to make them look enormous to the other, smaller characters.

10. Robin Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, and Drew Barrymore were all interested in taking roles, with the studio apparently favoring Williams to play Hagrid, but were all ruled out because they were American.

11. Rowling’s rule of British and Irish actors only was only waived by Austin Powers star Verne Troyer, whose American accent was dubbed over, and Eleanor Columbus, the director’s daughter, who had a cameo as Hufflepuff student Susan Bones in the Sorting Hat scene.

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12. Richard Harris was cast as Professor Dumbledore for the first two films, he sadly succumbed to Hodgkins’ disease in August 2002, four months before the release of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, his final film performance.

13. Maggie Smith was Rowling’s first choice to play Professor McGonagall. Smith battled breast cancer during the filming of the sixth installment and was able to reprise her role, wearing a wig while undergoing chemotherapy. Thankfully, she has since made a full recovery.

14. Only 14 actors appear in all eight Potter films and they are: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, (Draco Malfoy) Matthew Lewis, (Neville Longbottom) Devon Murray, (Seamus Finnigan) James and Oliver Phelps, (Fred and George) Josh Herdman, (Goyle) Warwick Davis, (Professor Flitwick and Griphook the goblin) and Geraldine Somerville (Lily Potter).

15. Rowling was offered the part of Lily Potter, but she turned down all cameos that were offered to her as she felt she was not cut out to be an actor, “even one who just has to stand there and wave.”

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

The series begins in earnest with this instant bank holiday TV classic, taking 11-year-old Harry from the suburbs of Surrey to the halls of Hogwarts.

16. The American title of the book is Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. Rather than just switch back to the original for the film, every scene featuring the original title “Philosopher’s Stone” in the dialogue had to be shot twice, to replace it with “Sorcerer’s Stone.”

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17. In a departure from the American editions, Rowling intervened to ensure that Harry’s scar was placed off-centre on his forehead, rather than in the middle as depicted on the US book covers. The scar make-up was applied to Radcliffe’s forehead a total of 5,800 times throughout the series.

18. For the first film, the scenes on Privet Drive were shot on location at Picket Post Close in Berkshire. However, when they didn’t have access for reshoots, the filmmakers built an identical model street that was used for the rest of the series.

Further Reading: What Else Has J.K. Rowling Written Besides Harry Potter?

19. The production team hand-wrote every letter sent to Harry and after the first batch proved too heavy for owls to carry, they rewrote every single one again. On top of that, it took six months to train the owls to carry post at all.

20. In the scene where Quirrell appears at The Leaky Cauldron, several of the background artists are also dressed in turbans, so as not to draw attention to the Voldemort-headed Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher’s disguise.

21. All of the exterior shots of Hogwarts throughout the series were created using an incredibly detailed miniature of the entire castle. This is currently on display as the star attraction at Leavesden Studios’ The Making of Harry Potter tour.

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22. The late, great Rik Mayall shot several scenes as Peeves the poltergeist, but his part was cut from this film and from the rest of the series. According to Mayall, he took the role because his kids and their friends loved the books and didn’t know he’d been cut until he saw the film, which he thought was “shit.”

23. The young supporting artists who played Hogwarts students were reportedly encouraged to do their real homework while filming, to provide realism. We’re not sure how their teachers reacted when they handed in their Geography coursework on prop parchment.

24. In the scene where Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall lights up, he’s the only character at the Gryffindor table who’s not wearing his full school robes and uniform, so that’s what he’s forgotten.

25. Scenes in the Hogwarts library were filmed at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, including the scene where Harry carries and drops a lantern with a lit candle in it. We didn’t try to take a flame into the building to test their usually very strict rules about this, but they usually take a dim view.

26. As in the book, the inscription around the Mirror of Erised reads “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi,” which is “I show not your face, but your heart’s desire” spelt backwards.

27. Unusually, John Williams’ score was a big part of the marketing for the movie from the very first teaser trailer. We even get a little diegetic snippet of the iconic theme from Hagrid, playing it on a flute outside his hut in the last half-hour of the film.

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28. Hermione’s “cool use of logic” doesn’t get a specialist outing as her deduction about the potions was cut from the film. On the other hand, Ron gets to show off his wizard chess skills, in a sequence that was meticulously designed by international chess master Jeremy Silman

29. For this installment only, Voldemort is played by Ian Hart, who provided the motion capture and the voice for the face on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head. Actor Richard Brener doubled for Voldemort’s physical form in the flashback to the night the Potters died.

30. Have you noticed that Harry doesn’t cast a single spell throughout the entirety of the first film? The closest he gets is when he gets his little achievement unlocked “whoosh” in Ollivander’s shop.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (2002)

In which a giant snake is directed to attack schoolchildren by the ghost of a magic racist. You know, for kids!

31. At 161 minutes, this is the longest film in the series. It feels like about 20 percent of that is young Radcliffe painstakingly reading each word as he writes it in Tom Riddle’s diary.

32. In the months after the film’s release, Russian lawyers threatened a lawsuit against Warner Bros. for basing Dobby (who was voiced by Toby Jones) on the image of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Design-wise, Dobby’s ears were based on those of a dog called Max, who would sit under the designers’ desks, but even Newsround got in on reporting that the elf had Putin’s face.

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33. When Hagrid frogmarches Harry out of Knockturn Alley, the pair pass a rack of books outside a shop. The American editions of the first four Potter novels are among the hardback volumes on display. They’re purveyors of dark magic and spoilers!

34. Mark Williams makes his first appearance in the series as Mr. Weasley. During a scene at Flourish and Blotts, he’s merrily telling Hermione’s parents “I understand that other Muggles are afraid of you.” This is a reference to Mr. and Mrs. Granger being dentists in the books. In the same scene, we actually see the moment Lucius Malfoy plants the diary on Ginny Weasley.

35. Hugh Grant was set to play unctuous author and Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts on another film. Kenneth Branagh stepped into the role and was also in the running to direct the next film in the series.

Further Reading: Harry Potter Online Streaming Guide

36. Shirley Henderson was 36 years old when she first played Moaning Myrtle, the ghost of a 16-year-old girl. While the movies largely escape the usual Hollywood thing of 30-year-olds playing teenagers, she and Christian Coulson, who plays the 16-year-old Voldemort, are the exceptions.

37. The King’s Cross station guard who appears to remonstrate Harry in the first two films is played by Harry Taylor, an actor who also worked behind the scenes as Chris Columbus’ driver. His character also appears in the epilogue of the final film and is a playable character in the LEGO Harry Potter video game.

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38. There’s some great set and model work in this one, from the full-size replicas of the characters who get petrified, to the animatronic Fawkes the phoenix, which Richard Harris thought was a real bird when he first saw it.

39. Williams was unavailable to deliver a complete score on this one, due to working on various other projects like Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, and Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. There are similarities in the score for the Ben Hur-style Quidditch chase between Harry and Draco, and the speeder chase in Attack Of The Clones.

40. Despite Crabbe and Goyle having more screentime than in any other installment of the series, Jamie Waylett and Josh Herdman still don’t get any dialogue. When they’re being imitated by Harry and Ron, their dialogue is dubbed over by Radcliffe and Grint.

41. Add Harry Potter to the enormous list of geeky franchises in which Julian Glover has starred, which also includes Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and, of course, Game Of Thrones. Here he voices Aragog, Hagrid’s enormous pet spider.

42. In order to make the anagram reveal work, Voldemort has different real names in different languages. Highlights include the French version, “Tom Elvis Jedusor” (“Je Suis Voldemort”) and the Swedish version, “Tom Gus Mervolo Dolder” (which becomes the Latin “Ego sum Lord Voldemort”).

43. Hello to Jason Isaacs! While playing Lucius Malfoy, Isaacs was reading the fourth book in the series and when asked to ad-lib a curse to bellow at Harry, he could only remember Avada Kedavra. That’s the take that Columbus used, so that’s why Lucius is apparently about to murder him in the middle of Hogwarts.

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44. Kloves has said that the ending where Hagrid returns and is applauded by everyone in the Great Hall was not in his script, and was invented by Columbus for the film. Speaking to Hero Complex in 2009, he described the decision as “a mild disagreement” he had with the director.

45. Long before Marvel had fans sticking around until the end of the credits, the series’ one and only post-credit scene to date finds a bookshop window advertising a new book by the memory-wiped Lockhart, titled Who Am I?

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)

From Dumbledore to the Dementors, it’s all change in Alfonso Cuarón’s third installment, which is regarded by many to be the very best film of the series

46. Fresh off of making Y Tu Mamá También, Cuarón was judged to be the right director to portray the maturity and mentality of the teenage leads. Sure enough, the film opens with Harry surreptitiously playing with his wand under his duvet, trying not to get caught by his relatives.

47. The Dursleys are watching Jim Davidson’s Generation Game on two separate TV screens before an inflated Aunt Marge (Pam Ferris) goes flying. This is staggeringly well-observed – we bet the Dursleys bloody love Jim Davidson.

48. The triple-decker Knight Bus was actually built, but was so top-heavy that it required more than four tonnes to be added to the bottom in order to keep it tipping over while in motion. Filming took place on the streets of North London, with the bus travelling at normal speed while the cars crawled around it, allowing the filmmakers to create a super-fast effect when the footage was sped up.

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49. Played by Alex Crockford, Charlie Weasley makes his one and only appearance in the series in a photo of the Weasleys on holiday in Egypt. Best described as the fit Weasley brother, he’s also mentioned in the first film as the dragon keeper who adopts Hagrid’s pet, Norbert.

50. In the same scene, The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown makes a cameo appearance as a wizard who’s sitting at a table in The Leaky Cauldron, magically stirring his tea while reading A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking.

51. Joining the series as Remus Lupin, David Thewlis originally auditioned to play Professor Quirrell, Ian Hart’s villainous role in The Sorcerer’s Stone. Rounding out the Marauders, Timothy Spall plays Peter Pettigrew and Gary Oldman plays Sirius Black, beating out Columbus’ initial choice of Robson Green when he was still attached to direct.

52. Cuarón wanted to create the Dementors using practical effects, but when the use of puppets became impractical, the test designs were filmed underwater in order to obtain a reference for the movement of the eerily effective CGI models.

53. Other stylistic changes to the series included the connecting up of the great sets which had been seen in previous films, using extensive location shooting to create more of a sense of geography at Hogwarts than had existed before. Moreover, the characters get a new wardrobe, with subtle alterations to their school uniforms showing more personality.

54. Michael Gambon took over the role of Dumbledore. Gambon previously replaced Harris as the title character in ITV’s Maigret in the 1990s. Also joining the Hogwarts faculty is Emma Thompson as Divination professor Sybil Trelawney, whose wide-eyed appearance was created by glasses with magnifying lenses in them. Elsewhere, Julie Christie plays Madame Rosmerta, the landlady of the Three Broomsticks pub, who makes her first and only appearance in the series in the Christmassy scene at Hogsmeade. Ron fancies her!

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55. Buckbeak the Hippogriff definitely has a poo right before Harry mounts him. Take a close look next time you watch, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. In other animal-related details, keep an eye out for the life-size giraffe roaming through Hogwarts’ paintings, most often visible in the staircase scenes.

56. In addition to Dawn French playing the Fat Lady, Paul Whitehouse was cast as Sir Cadogan, the mad knight who replaces her at the door of Gryffindor’s common room after Sirius enters the castle. His scenes were cut, but the deleted scenes are featured on the DVD.

Further Reading: How Harry Potter Helped Shape Modern Internet Fandom

57. The Time Turner is an aspect that Rowling had to write her way out of later on, explaining that the Ministry-set climax of The Order Of The Phoenix involved the destruction of all the available Time Turners, preventing any more timey-wimey shenanigans later on. As to the Hermione sub-plot, it’s a lovely touch that it’s always Ron asking where she’s been. Ron fancies her too!

58. John Williams’ final full score of the series has a lot of great flourishes, from the appearance of the school choir singing “Something Wicked This Way Comes to the incessantly ticking bass during the Time Turner sequence. Listen out for the harpsichord motif that indicates Peter Pettigrew’s presence, which also appears right at the very end of the credits, to remind us he’s still out there.

59. The end credits sequence includes an animated Marauder’s Map with plenty of Easter eggs to pick out, including two Hogwarts residents getting up close and personal in a corner, and Sirius’ footprints turning from shoes to bare feet, to paw prints when Oldman’s credit appears.

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60. Furthermore, the map gives us the biggest, most discussed plot hole in both the book and the film. If Scabbers shows up under his real name, why didn’t Fred and George ever wonder why their younger brother shared his dormitory with a man called Peter Pettigrew?

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005)

Dragons. Mermaids. Absolutely no haircuts. Director Mike Newell tackles the most dangerous school year of all, as Hogwarts hosts a huge international tournament that ends in tragedy.

61. Cuarón declined to return due to the quick turnaround required, but spoke with new director Mike Newell about how to adapt the book. Warner was talking about splitting the book into two films, but Newell talked them out of it, later telling Empire Magazine that “it would be slightly embarrassing to do it in two.”

62. In the opening scene, Eric Sykes’ character is a Muggle called Frank Bryce. True to the book, Harry’s nightmare takes place close by the graveyard where the finale takes place, with Frank interrupting Voldemort’s nocturnal plotting with Timothy Spall’s Wormtail and David Tennant’s Barty Crouch Jr.

63. House elves Dobby and Winky are both cut in the adaptation, but both appear in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos in an early scene at the campground before the Quidditch World Cup. This must have been expensive – special effects aside, we hear they don’t go to work for less than a million.

64. Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Clemence Poésy all join the cast in recurring roles. All three starred in the brilliant In Bruges a couple of years later.

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65. A further exception to Rowling’s strict “British and Irish actors only” rule came with the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang delegations. They are all played by French and eastern European actors respectively, except half-giant headmistress Madame Maxime, who is played by the great Frances de la Tour.

66. Significantly longer than each of the three preceding novels in the series, The Goblet Of Fire is an odd one because it introduces a large number of characters who are largely vital to this story only. As a result, characters like commentator Ludo Bagman, Bertha Jorkins and fit Charlie Weasley don’t appear here or anywhere else in the series.

Further Reading: Warner Bros. Cracks Down on Harry Potter Fan Events

67. On the other hand, the new character Nigel Wolpert, played by William Melling, is an invention for the films, apparently designed as a composite of Harry-stanning siblings Colin and Dennis Creevey. He also pops up throughout the rest of the series.

68. A pre-Twilight Robert Pattinson makes his film debut as Cedric Diggory. Despite being killed off, Pattinson has stated that he’d rather play Cedric again than the sullen Cullen that gave him his most famous franchise role.

69. Radcliffe has said that the underwater scenes in the second task were the most difficult to film, requiring six months of training in a massive tank before filming even began. He suffered two ear infections and didn’t have time to take dancing lessons with the rest of the cast, which is why he only appears from the waist up in the Yule Ball scenes.

70. In the Yule Ball scene, wizarding rock band The Weird Sisters are played by Jarvis Cocker, Jonny Greenwood, Jason Buckle, Steve Mackey, Steven Claydon, and Phil Selway. Written by composer Patrick Doyle, their setlist comprises “Magic Works,” “This Is The Night,” and “Do The Hippogriff,” all of which feature on the soundtrack album.

71. Prior to Harry discovering Crouch Sr.’s body in the forest, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid are all singing a song that goes “Hogwarts, Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts”, based on the original school song from the novel of The Sorcerer’s Stone. A deleted scene from earlier in the film has Dumbledore leading the school in a chorus of the song, which is extremely open to interpretation by everyone who sings it.

72. Also seen in the Tenth Doctor’s tendency to lick stuff, Tennant’s oral fixation has inspired entire Tumblr blogs, but here becomes Barty Crouch Jr.’s most unnerving tic. Watch closely for Gleeson’s Moody doing the same thing at different points in the film.

73. The symbol of the Deathly Hallows appears in Dumbledore’s office during the Pensieve scene, in the form of a pyramid ornament with an orb and a rod in the middle. The film was released 18 months before the symbol and its significance would be addressed in the final book.

74. Fiennes’ first appearance as Lord Voldemort comes in the graveyard scene at the end of the film. Newell initially considered not using make-up in order to make the character more expressive, but changed his mind when he saw the minimal make-up design that the crew came up with. In addition to losing his nose to prosthetics, Fiennes shaved his head for the role.

75. “No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie”, according to the end credits.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)

With David Yates becoming the series’ full-time director for the wizarding war to come, this installment deftly turns the longest book into the shortest of the films.

76. Having only originally signed for four films, Warner Bros. had to sign up the entire recurring cast from Sorcerer’s Stone for the remaining films in the series. Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have all spoken about having doubts about whether to continue at this point, but eventually decided to stay on.

77. Kloves declined to write for this sequel, after finding Goblet Of Fire particularly difficult to adapt. He worked on an as-yet unmade film of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time instead, while Peter Pan screenwriter Michael Goldenberg stepped in to write this film.

78. When Newell turned down the chance to direct the fifth installment, Warner had a shortlist including Guillermo del Toro, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Mira Nair, and Matthew Vaughn. Eventually, David Yates got the job on the strength of his political dramas State Of Play and The Girl In The Cafe and has directed every Wizarding World film since.

79. Jessica Hynes voices Mafalda Hopkirk in the scene where Harry gets a Howler at Privet Drive. She doesn’t appear in person in the subsequent hearing scene, but Mafalda is the Ministry official that Hermione impersonates in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 – in that film, she’s played by Sophie Thompson, whose sister Emma plays Professor Trelawney.

80. Imelda Staunton plays Professor Dolores Umbridge, the new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher. To redress the office set that had previously been inhabited by Lockhart, Lupin, and Moody, a 24-hour photoshoot was undertaken to create 40 moving pictures of cats. Costume designer Jany Temime dressed Umbridge in hotter shades of pink throughout the production to reflect her more hysterical mood throughout the story.

81. Helen McCrory was initially cast as Bellatrix Lestrange but had to drop out when she found out she was pregnant. McCrory was instead cast as her sister Narcissa Malfoy in the following film. Anna Friel wanted to play the characters’ cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, in order to act alongside her real-life husband David Thewlis, but Natalia Tena took the role instead.

82. Professional dance choreographer Paul Harris devised the new style of duelling seen in this film and throughout all of Yates’ Wizarding World movies. Everyone learned five basic moves and then adapted them for their characters.

83. When the book was released, Evanna Lynch was hospitalized and consulted with her doctors in order to be allowed to go and collect a copy signed by J.K. Rowling as she had planned. A few years later, she auditioned to play batty but wise Ravenclaw student Luna Lovegood at an open casting call and won the part. Lynch wears radish earrings she made herself.

84. Originally inspired by Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, the Ministry of Magic scenes proved the trickiest to execute, from placing 30,000 individual tiles in the Atrium, to creating the Department of Mysteries, which was the first entirely computer-generated set in the series.

85. In starting after-school lessons with Dumbledore’s Army, Harry becomes a teacher for his fellow students. Radcliffe hit upon the idea that teachers are inspired by teachers they admired when they were younger, and so Harry’s wardrobe is partly inspired by Lupin’s this time around.

86. The moment where the trio get the giggles after Harry talks about kissing Cho Chang came about when Emma Watson corpsed for real and the other two actors cracked up as well. Yates felt it was a very natural moment and kept it in.

87. The Black family tree contains over 70 names and was written by Rowling herself for the film. Elaborate family trees also play an important role in Rowling’s latest prequel, The Crimes Of Grindelwald.

88. A sub-plot involving Percy Weasley putting his career before his family was left out, but is referenced by actor Chris Rankin can be seen among the Ministry delegates who turn up to arrest Dumbledore.

89. Don’t put things in your ears, kids. Matthew Lewis suffered a burst eardrum when he moved his head while Bellatrix was threatening his lugs with her wand, hence his pained expression at that particular moment.

90. Despite making close to a billion dollars worldwide, this film was declared to have lost $183 million in Warner Bros.’ leaked financial breakdown. On closer inspection, some fairly shady studio accounting practices were revealed, including paying themselves for distribution and marketing.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Turn down the lights for an intriguing mix of teen comedy and supernatural horror, in which the true nature of the title character is sort of secondary…

91. This is the first film in the franchise to be produced and released after all seven books were published. Given the secrecy about their plots, the filmmakers previously relied on Rowling’s creative guidance about what would turn out to be important later on in the series.

92. The Harry Potter books are set in the 1990s, but this film begins with Death Eaters destroying the Millennium Bridge. Along with putting 2005’s “Boys Will Be Boys by The Ordinary Boys in the previous film, this is another addition that unpicks the more timeless qualities of the films thus far.

93. Yates and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel had to fight hard with the studio in order to protect the darker, less colourful vision that they came up with. They were vindicated when the film bagged the series’ first and only nod in the Best Cinematography category at that year’s Oscars.

94. Like her screen sister, Helena Bonham Carter discovered she was pregnant while filming, leading the filmmakers to hide this with loose costumes and strategic positioning of objects in front of her. Ironically, a controversial plot point in the West End play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child involves Bellatrix being pregnant around this time.

95. The 11-year-old version of Tom Riddle is played by Ralph Fiennes’ nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin in a flashback scene. The teenage version is played by Frank Dillane, because Chamber Of Secrets‘ Christian Coulson was deemed too old to reprise his role.

96. In the films, Professor Umbridge cancels Quidditch early on in Harry’s fifth year, meaning Ron’s entire career as Gryffindor’s Keeper is transplanted to this film instead, where it fits much better. Yates was proud of his take on Quidditch, remarking that it finally felt like a sport this time around.

97. The Butterbeer that the trio drinks in The Three Broomsticks is actually orange J2O, topped up with fake foam. An official Butterbeer has since become available for fans to buy.

98. In the book, Harry gets detention with Snape for the rest of the school year after unwittingly using Sectumsempra on Draco. In the film, they seem to let this apparent attempted murder slide, probably because Draco’s father attempted to Avada Kedavra Harry some years earlier.

99. Jim Broadbent plays Slughorn, who is described as short and walrus-like in the book. He looks nothing like that, but he’s still fantastic, especially in the newly created scene where he describes the moment he realised Lily Potter, his favourite student, had been murdered. Sob.

100. The climactic scene where Dumbledore casts a ring of fire in the cave took CG artist Christopher Horvath eight months to animate. The visual effects team referenced footage of volcanoes and flares that burn underwater to create the sequence.

101. According to his recently released diaries, Alan Rickman was disappointed that Yates didn’t make more time for Snape in this instalment. He’s not wrong – although the reveal that he’s the Half-Blood Prince comes late in the book too, there was scope to adapt things a bit differently.

102. On the other hand, the scene where Harry interacts with Snape before killing Dumbledore was a controversial addition by Kloves, but it works brilliantly. The writer justified it as a moment that would haunt Harry later, and it plays perfectly as the very first time he has ever fully trusted his Potions teacher.

103. During the emotional scene where Hogwarts staff and student discover Dumbledore’s body at the foot of the tower, Gambon was fast asleep. Acting his best, Radcliffe was understandably a tad miffed.

104. We’re not saying Ron gets short shrift in these films or anything, but his final line of dialogue in this installment comes a full 45 minutes before the end. We even have Hermione, rather than Ron, tell Harry that he’s OK about the Ginny thing.

105. The filmmakers have said that they tried for months to create a track of phoenix song that would do justice to Fawkes’ lament as described in the book, but were unsuccessful, opting for a conventional score instead – Nicholas Hooper’s closing track, “The Friends.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Although it’s the first part of a blockbuster finale, “Harry On Camping” re-centers on the three Horcrux-hunting leads and plays like an indie road movie.

106. Due to the large amount of narrative heavy lifting in the finale, executive producer Lionel Wigram again raised the suggestion of splitting the book into two films. This time, Heyman and Yates agreed, and the split was announced before The Half-Blood Prince was released in cinemas.

107. Originally intended to be post-converted into 3D, the first installment of the finale was released in November 2010. In the wake of the negative response to 3D conversion on Clash Of The Titans, the producers realized they wouldn’t be able to finish in time for the release date. The completed 3D conversion was eventually released on Blu-Ray in a box set with the sequel.

108. The film opens with Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour. Having previously worked with Yates on the TV drama series he directed, he plays the doomed Minister for Magic who was cut out of the previous installment.

109. Bill Weasley makes his first appearance when he accompanies Mad-Eye Moody and the others to retrieve Harry from Privet Drive. In an early role, Domhnall Gleeson makes his Potter debut alongside his real-life dad, Brendan.

110. On the July 6th, 2007 edition of The Jonathan Ross Show, J.K. Rowling appeared ahead of the publication of the final book and commented that her fellow guest, the mighty Bob Hoskins, would be perfect as one of the new characters if he could do a Welsh accent. Apparently, she was talking about Mundungus Fletcher, who was eventually played in this film by Andy Linden.

111. For the opening scene where we see Hermione’s bedroom, Emma Watson requested that the art department add more books, which they duly did. Elsewhere, the Dursleys’ final appearance and Dudley’s reconciliation with Harry were filmed but cut out of the finished film.

112. The scene with the seven Harries took a total of 95 takes for Radcliffe to complete. He had several tries at playing Fred, George, Fleur, Ron, and Mundungus as Harry, but got Hermione right in one take.

113. Frances de la Tour has a small cameo as Madame Maxime at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. In the book, Viktor Krum also attended, but his part was cut from the film. Also reprising her role from Goblet Of Fire, Miranda Richardson very briefly appears in Rita Skeeter’s author picture on the cover of her Dumbledore biography, which Harry finds in Umbridge’s office.

114. When the trio hides out in a café on Tottenham Court Road, there’s a poster for the 2006 revival of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, which starred Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths.

115. Jamie Campbell-Bower plays the young Grindelwald in flashbacks, while Michael Byrne plays the elder version, locked in the wizarding prison Nurmengard. Campbell-Bower previously starred alongside Johnny Depp, who plays the Fantastic Beasts-era version in Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

116. The scene in which Harry and Hermione take a break from Horcrux-minding features the song “O Children by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Yates asked the band for a variety of songs and chose this lesser known one for the new scene, and thus introduced the band to a whole generation of Potterheads, who would probably be a bit surprised by the rest of the band’s discography.

117. Harry’s brush with Nagini the snake in Bathilda Bagshot’s house features a direct reference to 1960’s Psycho, with the swinging ceiling lamp and the change in the tone of Alexandre Desplat’s score.

118. Emma Watson and Helena Bonham Carter came up with the uniquely horrible idea of Bellatrix carving “Mudblood” into Hermione’s arm. As has been pointed out by Kevin Smith on his podcast about the film, Hermione has the benefit of “sleeve magic” to counter this hateful act.

119. Timothy Spall makes his final appearance in the series here, presumably knocked down the stairs to his death by Sassy Dobby. In the book, he dies after showing Harry mercy, causing his Voldemort-created metal hand to choke him to death. Considering how he sold out Harry’s parents, his bitter end is an unexpected casualty of the two-pronged adaptation.

120. Voldemort opens Dumbledore’s tomb to steal the Elder Wand in the cliffhanger ending. The script for Half-Blood Prince originally had Harry taking Dumbledore’s wand after his death, but this was changed after the final book was published.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

It All Ends Here, as the second part of the story ramps up the pyrotechnics for one final Hogwarts-sploding battle…

121. As the long-awaited finale, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 broke worldwide box office records, including the biggest opening weekend ever at that point. As the first Potter film to break a billion dollars worldwide, it finally exceeded the first installment as the highest grossing in the series.

122. With most of the heavy lifting done in Part 1, this film has the shortest timeframe of the series, mostly taking place across one day. Rowling has dated the 24-hour period in which the Gringotts robbery and the battle of Hogwarts both take place as May 2nd, 1998.

123. Replacing Troyer, Warwick Davis plays a dual role as Griphook the goblin, as well as his usual role of Professor Flitwick.

124. The dragon that guards Gringotts is a Ukrainian Ironbelly. Its method of breathing fire, by breathing two chemicals that ignite on contact, originated on screen in the 2002 film Reign Of Fire. This has since been taken up by the Potter films, 2016’s Gods Of Egypt, and Game Of Thrones.

125. Aberforth Dumbledore, renowned by his brother as an illiterate goat-botherer in the books, also appeared in The Order Of The Phoenix, played by Jim McManus. Ciarán Hinds takes over the role in this film to explain the Dumbledores’ fraught family history.

126. For the final film, the model of Hogwarts was recreated digitally, to keep the physical model that had lasted seven films so far from being destroyed in the battle scenes.

127. Kate Winslet was offered the pivotal cameo role of Ravenclaw’s Grey Lady, Helena Ravenclaw. Winslet has since reported that her agent turned it down without asking, and she probably would have jumped at the chance. Kelly McDonald plays the ghostly character in the film.

128. Crabbe originally destroys the diadem by casting a dark magical fire spell, but Jamie Waylett was convicted for drug possession in between films. That’s why Josh Herdman’s Goyle is the one who suffers Crabbe’s fate in the movie version.

129. Ron’s first girlfriend Lavender Brown suffers a much bleaker fate in the film than in the book. During the chaotic “courtyard apocalypse” scene, Hermione curses the werewolf Fenrir Greyback as he chews on her neck, and she’s definitely dead as the trio move on.

130. As well as the regular cast, several former stars make cameo appearances during the battle of Hogwarts. Emma Thompson, Miriam Margolyes, (Professor Sprout) and Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood) are among those seen either fighting or helping the wounded.

131. Snape asks Harry to look into his eyes as he dies. Radcliffe doesn’t have Lily’s green eyes, because when they tested contact lenses in the first film, they found he was unable to tolerate them. On the other hand, Rickman wore black contacts to play Snape throughout the series.

132. Teddy Lupin, the son of Remus and Tonks, was cut out of the film version. A scene where Tonks told Mrs Weasley she was pregnant was filmed for Part 1 and then cut. As in the book, Harry finds the couple dead in the Great Hall.

133. The exceptionally creepy and meme-worthy moment where Voldemort embraces Draco Malfoy was improvised by Fiennes on the day. Tom Felton’s paralysed reaction is apparently genuine.

134. Meanwhile, the King’s Cross epilogue had to be shot twice, because the make-up for the young actors was judged to be unconvincing. Take a look online and you’ll find drastically different looks for all of the principals.

135. Bringing everything full circle, the film ends with a chocolate frog jumping into an open carriage window on the Hogwarts Express, mirroring Harry losing his in the first film.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)

The year is 2016, going on 1926, and in this Rowling-scripted prequel, magizoologist Newt Scamander has a luggage problem during his trip to New York City.

136. The first of five planned prequels, the film is named after the textbook that the protagonist Newt Scamander wrote about magical creatures, which is required reading at Hogwarts. Rowling wrote abridged “Muggle-worthy” editions of this book and Quidditch Through The Ages for Comic Relief in 2001, and updated the former for a new release in 2017.

137. The opening newspaper montage covering Gellert Grindelwald’s activities in Europe is similar to a device Yates used in Order Of The Phoenix. However, while the headlines are visible, the text of the articles are all in lorem ipsum, traditionally used as placeholder text. Maybe witches and wizards speak lorem ipsum?

138. Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander and was Rowling’s only choice for the role. Redmayne previously auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of the teenage Tom Riddle in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.

139. Appearing in both the customs scene and his final appearance on the ferry, Newt owns a yellow and grey scarf, showing that he was a Hufflepuff student at Hogwarts. Additionally, Newt previously appeared at Hogwarts on the Marauder’s Map in Prisoner Of Azkaban, as an Easter egg for fans.

140. Most of the magical creatures are described in Rowling’s textbook, but newly created beasts for the film include the Swooping Evil, a curse-proof gribbly that Newt uses defensively throughout various duelling scenes, and Frank the Thunderbird, a weather-changing bird native to Arizona.

141. With the American setting, all bets are off on Rowling’s British casting only rule. Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, and Jon Voight are among the American actors playing American characters, but Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton also put on American accents for their parts. Meanwhile, the controversial Johnny Depp plays the European-born Grindelwald.

Further Reading: Fantastic Beasts 2 And The Tragedy of Nagini

142. The Magical Congress of the USA is based in New York’s Woolworth Building. The largely computer-generated set includes a magical terror-alert clock that’s somewhere between the Weasley family’s grandfather clock and the colored threat levels introduced by the Bush administration in the 2000s.

143. Queenie Goldstein is a powerful Legilimens – although this mind-reading ability is pivotal in the books, it’s the first time it has been named on-screen in the film versions.

144. The Obscurus is not a new creation for the film, with Dumbledore’s younger sister Ariana fitting many of the same properties described by Newt, but it’s the first time Rowling has named it.

145. In the Blind Pig speakeasy, Grabnak the goblin is voiced by the one and only Ron Perlman. The goblin’s musical performance features original lyrics from Rowling and was performed by unsigned Australian singer Emmi, who clocked that it was a Harry Potter thing when she Googled the mysterious lyrics her agent sent her.

146. Mercy Lewis and Deliverance Dane are both names exclaimed by Americans in the film. Both were real people who were accused of witchcraft by their neighbours during the Salem witch trials, which Rowling refers to in the anti-magic movement run by Mary Lou Barebone.

147. Tina and Queenie attended the American wizarding school as Ilvermorny. On her extended universe platform Pottermore, Rowling has said that the in-universe explanation for the school’s founding was the work of an American witch who loved Hogwarts so much that she went home and made her own version, which is a nice nod to the series’ fervent US fanbase.

Further Reading: Crimes of Grindelwald Ending Explained

148. Completing a full house of principal stars from In Bruges in the Potterverse, Colin Farrell plays American Auror Percival Graves. Like his co-star Gleeson at the end of The Goblet Of Fire, he turns out to have been playing another character in disguise all along.

149. Intended to appear either in the finale or after the credits, a scene that showed Credence escaping New York on a ferry was cut out, leaving his fate more open-ended as it appears in the theatrical cut.

150. Around the time of the film’s release, Redmayne starred as Newt in a Children In Need sketch where he interacted with BBC stars including Alan Sugar, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and, most importantly, the Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi. That rather nicely brings the Wizarding World into the ongoing debate about what’s canon in the Whoniverse…