In honor of the 20th anniversary of the June 26 publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK, we dove into some magical lore. J.K. Rowling recently shared a few more tidbits of history about everyone’s favorite boy wizard on Pottermore, this time about the history of the Potter family. Here are three things we learned.
1. WHERE THE POTTER FORTUNE CAME FROM
One of Harry’s ancestors was responsible for potions that might sound familiar to Harry Potter fans. According to Rowling, the Potters descend from a 12th-century wizard named Linfred of Stinchcombe, an eccentric healer who cured his Muggle neighbors’ bouts of pox while experimenting with more complex magical medicine in secret. “Historians credit Linfred as the originator of a number of remedies that evolved into potions still used to this day, including Skele-gro and Pepperup Potion,” Rowling writes. Without his ancestor’s skills, Harry’s arm would have never regrown its bones in Chamber of Secrets.
Later, another of Harry’s relatives used his potions skills to lucrative ends. Harry’s grandfather, Fleamont Potter, created Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, quadrupling the family fortune.
2. HOW THE INVISIBILITY CLOAK ENDED UP IN THE FAMILY
Harry’s invisibility cloak is perhaps his most valuable inheritance, allowing him to take part in a lot of mischief throughout his time at Hogwarts. The cloak originally came from Ignotus Peverell, one of the three brothers who received the Deathly Hallows. Harry is distantly related to Peverell, whose granddaughter married Hardwin, the son of the potion-inventing Linfred. Iolanthe Peverell inherited the cloak from her grandfather (though only because of the absence of male heirs). She maintained the family tradition of keeping the cloak a secret and from then on, it was given to the eldest child of each generation.
3. WHAT HARRY’S GRANDPARENTS WERE LIKE
According to Rowling, Harry’s paternal grandfather was a good sport about his unusual name. “Fleamont was so called because it was the dying wish of Henry’s mother that he perpetuate her maiden name, which would otherwise die out,” she writes. “He bore the burden remarkably well; indeed, he always attributed his dexterity at dueling to the number of times he had to fight people at Hogwarts after they had made fun of his name.” After years of trying to have children, he and his wife, Euphemia, finally had James. They were struck down by dragon pox before Harry was born.