Pottermore Feature of the Week: The Original Forty

This week we are featuring one of my favorite Pottermore entries; The Original Forty. Perhaps I like it because it has everything to do with J.K. Rowling’s god-ness skill of imagination or because it is history of my favorite characters – I don’t know. I do know, however, it reveals information that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere but on Pottermore. It is the backstory that would never make it in the books. It is a truly fascinating read, specifically for über Harry Potter fans.

From the entry, “The Original Forty“:

Two of my most prized possessions are a pair of small notebooks, which contain my very first scribblings about Harry Potter. Much of what is written in them was never used in the series, although it is startling to come across the odd line of dialogue that subsequently made it, verbatim, to publication.

In one of the books is a list of forty names of students in Harry’s year (including Harry, Ron and Hermione), all allocated houses, with small symbols beside each name depicting each boy or girl’s parentage.

While I imagined that there would be considerably more than forty students in each year at Hogwarts, I thought that it would be useful to know a proportion of Harry’s classmates, and to have names at my fingertips when action was taking place around the school.

As the stories evolved, I changed the parentage of some of the original forty. While some never appeared in the books at all, I always knew that they were there; some had surgery to their names after their first creation; a few emerged from the background to have their own secondary stories (Ernie Macmillan, Hannah Abbott, Justin Finch-Fletchley), and one, Neville Longbottom, developed into a very important character. It is very strange to look at the list in this tiny notebook now, slightly water-stained by some forgotten mishap, and covered in light pencil scribblings (undoubtedly the work of my then infant daughter, Jessica), and to think that while I was writing these names, and refining them, and sorting them into houses, I had no clue where they were going to go (or where they were going to take me).

Rowling then includes her complete list of the original forty. The list includes the original names of some characters, such as Neville Sidebottom. Another one is “Lily Moon”, my personal favorite on the list. J.K. Rowling wrote that this character was the first “intimation of Luna Lovegood”. She goes on saying that though the name was never used, it gave her the idea of a “fey, dreamy girl”. It is interesting to learn the history of such a favorite. Perhaps we will be learning more about her in the later books!

Hopefully there will be more entries like this as the story progresses!

You can share your thoughts about the entry in the comments below or on Twitter (@PottermoreNews7).

P.S.Please excuse our delay! It wasn’t until this morning ’till we realized that it is Thursday, not Wednesday!


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