In her writing on Pottermore, Rowling has revealed a lot of new information about the wizarding world and the characters in it. Here are a few interesting tidbits:
1 – Hufflepuff has produced fewer Dark Wizards than any other house.
2 – The name ‘Ollivander’ is believed to mean ‘he who owns the olive wand.’
3 – Some, particularly children, become ‘Portkey-sick’ after using a Portkey. The symptoms, nausea and hysterics, can last for days.
4 – McGonagall has two brothers, Malcolm and Robert Jr. Her husband died of a Venomous Tentacula bite. If you haven’t read the biography of McGonagall on Pottermore, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s a wonderful story which helps you to understand her character so much more. And do read it on Pottermore, not on some other website. Go to the source.
5 – Platform Seven-and-a-Half at King’s Cross allows one to board a wizarding version of the Orient Express with service to wizarding locations in Europe. (To be fair, Rowling actually prefaced this bit with “I like to think that …”, so it may not be considered a canon fact).
6 – Quirrel’s hobby was pressing wild flowers.
7 – There are eleven magic schools in the world. Here are the ones we know of:
- There is a school in Brazil from which Bill Weasley had a penfriend (GF7)
- Students in the U.S. have their own school (SN), which may be the Salem Witches’ Institute (GF7) (except for the fact that the witches sitting by that banner were described as ‘middle-aged’).
- Mahoutokoro in Japan (Pm)
8 – The Quidditch World Cup which Harry attended in book four took place on Dartmoor, only 20-30 miles from the Burrow.
“Oh I would never dream of assuming I know all Hogwarts’ secrets, Igor,” said Dumbledore amicably. “Only this morning, for instance, I took a wrong turning on the way to the bathroom and found myself in a beautifully proportioned room I have never seen before, containing a really rather magnificent collection of chamber pots. When I went back to investigate more closely, I discovered that the room had vanished. But I must keep an eye out for it. Possibly it is only accessible at five-thirty in the morning. Or it may only appear at the quarter moon – or when the seeker has an exceptionally full bladder.”
However, this statement on Pottermore reveals that Dumbledore was actually very aware of the Room of Requirement well before that Christmas 1994 visit at 5:30 a.m. with a full bladder:
Only after Professor Dumbledore makes key modifications to the mirror (which has been languishing in the Room of Requirement for a century or so before he brings it out and puts it to work) does it become a superb hiding place, and the final test for the impure of heart.
The Mirror was discovered by Harry on 25 December 1991, so Dumbledore knew about the Room before then. I’m not surprised. There is, it seems, very little that Dumbledore didn’t know.
Of course, we’re still left with the mystery of why, if the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden in it, the Mirror of Erised was carelessly left in a disused classroom until at least Christmas time and not kept securely under Fluffy’s trapdoor. Or, if Dumbledore didn’t hide the Stone in the mirror until after Christmas, how was it secured in that chamber up until that point?