The Harry Potter fandom is filled with people who pride themselves on their knowledge of all things Potter and the Wizarding World – but there’s some things that unless you’ve been keeping up with Pottermore you probably haven’t heard about yet. In the newest development, fans found out that their favorite wizard, Harry Potter, wasn’t actually the first “Harry” in the Potter family, as explained in one of the latest additions to Pottermore.
Okay, technically, he was the first to actually be named Harry, but he wasn’t the first to go by the name of Harry. Before the Harry we all know and love there was a Henry Potter, who served on the Wizengamot from 1913 to 1921, and who was one of few Potters of that generation to make it to London. Henry, who was called Harry by those close to him, definitely seems to share some of the same personality traits with the Harry that we are familiar with, like being outspoken regardless of who he disagrees with.
“Henry caused a minor stir when he publicly condemned then Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, who had forbidden the magical community to help Muggles waging the First World War. His outspokenness on the behalf of the Muggle community was also a strong contributing factor in the family’s exclusion from the ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight’.”
The “Sacred Twenty-Eight”
While the Potter family was mostly pure-blood with only a few marrying muggles over the years it seems that Henry Potter’s fondness and willingness to stand up for muggles might have been one of a few reasons that the family was not considered one of the “Sacred Twenty-Eight.”
The Sacred Twenty-Eight is the supposed definitive list of pure-blood families, and the Potters were left off of this list for various reasons. The two cited in the post by Rowling being Henry Potter’s views on muggles and also the fact that “Potter” is a rather common muggle sir name.
Prior to this news, the Potter family tree had not played a very big part in the story of Harry Potter, with the exception of the brief look we got in the Dealthy Hallows connecting the Potters to the Peverell’s. In this recent post J.K. Rowling finally expands on the family tree before James Potter and his parents.
The post goes as far back as to explore how they got the name Potter in the first place, how the family’s small fortune got started and explains when the Potter’s and Peverell’s became one family as well as the tradition of passing along the invisibility cloak.
The Potter-Peverell Connection
Along with the introduction of the admittedly interesting Henry Potter, J.K. Rowling gives us some great backstory on the Potter family – starting with Linfred of Stinchcombe. Linfred was known by many as “the Potterer,” which was eventually shortened to Potter, giving the family their now famous sir name.
However, it was his eldest son Hardwin who eventually married Iolanthe Peverell of Gordic’s Hallow, bringing the two families together. Iolanthe, granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell, had come into owning the invisibility cloak because she was the eldest granddaughter and there had been no sons to pass it along to.
When she married Hardwin she made him promise to keep the cloak a secret, with the intention of passing it down to the oldest child in each generation. This went on for years until it came into the hands of Fleamont Potter, the father of James Potter. Then of course we all know it was James who eventually left the cloak to Harry (even if it was through Dumbledore).
The story continues thanks to Pottermore
Fans of the series who haven’t previously spent much time on Pottermore might want to start poking around – especially with the recent addition of the Wizarding World Book Club! Rereading the series along with friends, family and fans from around the world is probably the best way J.K. Rowling could have decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Plus with the additions of bits and pieces of new information on characters, places, creatures, magical objects and more on Pottermore already, and more being released all the time, you may end up learning a lot about Harry Potter you didn’t even know you were missing (after all, this is your hundreth time reading it through too, right?).
The look into the Potter family tree is definitely something that life-long and new fans of the series alike will enjoy. It gives some great insight on where the Potter family came from, and shows us just how much Harry really is like other members of his family (without ever meeting them). It goes to show that even in a fictional world apples don’t generally fall far from their trees.
Out of all this however, it was the brief three or four lines about Henry “Harry” Potter that has garnered the most attention. The character is one that we would all want to know more about just from reading the tidbit of information that J.K. Rowling has given us into his life, because there are sure to be other similarities between this Henry and the boy who made “Potter” a household name in both the Wizarding and muggle worlds.
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