International Harry Potter Day 2022: Lesser-known facts about the books
A day for Potterheads to rejoice and reread Harry Potter books, International Harry Potter Day came to existence after then British Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement in 2012. In his official statement, Cameron said that the official international holiday was chosen to honor the date Harry Potter conquered Lord Voldemort. If you didn't know this, here are some more facts from Potterverse!
Nicolas Flamel's character is based on a real Muggle
Nicolas Flamel's character in the first book is based on a real person -- a French scribe and manuscript seller in the late 1300s and early 1400s. People began to believe Flamel achieved immortality through the Philosopher's Stone which led to him becoming a posthumous legendary alchemist. An alchemical book, published in Paris in 1612 as Livre des figures hiéroglyphiques, was attributed to Flamel.
The Dementors are based on Rowling's struggle with depression
After JK Rowling's mother died in 1990 of multiple sclerosis, she suffered a period of depression. The dementors, creatures that feed on human emotion, symbolize depression. She said to Oprah Winfrey in an interview trying to explain depression, "I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it's that cold absence of feeling—that really hollowed-out feeling. That's what Dementors are."
Dolores Umbridge's character scared Stephen King
Even the "King of Horror" was freaked out by the cringe-worthy character of Dolores Umbridge who taught "Defense Against the Dark Arts" at Hogwarts, once. "The gently smiling Dolores Umbridge, with her girlish voice, toadlike face, and clutching, stubby fingers, is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter," Stephen King wrote reviewing Order of the Phoenix. Imelda Staunton portrayed Umbridge onscreen.
Moaning Myrtle was inspired by true events
Rowling wrote in Pottermore that the character of Moaning Myrtle the whiny ghost living in the boy's bathroom was inspired by, "the frequent presence of a crying girl in communal bathrooms, especially at the parties and discos of my youth." Since this does not seem to happen in male bathrooms, the author enjoyed putting Harry and Ron in an uneasy and unacquainted situation.
Luna Lovegood grew up to be a magizoologist
Luna Lovegood is probably Potterverse's most eccentric character--she's humble and gentle yet quirky and scary. She goes on to live a rather adventurous life after helping defeat Voldemort. She becomes a Magizoologist—like Nute Scamander, in the spinoff Fantastic Beasts. She is a keeper of fantastic beasts, and as fate would have it she ends up with the grandson of Newt Scamander!