There aren’t many franchises like Harry Potter where background information is provided after the main series has concluded. The website known as Pottermore had started for this very use, lasting for several years before being integrated into the Wizarding World website. The information from Pottermore remains to this day, providing vital backstory for characters and events.

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This is to the point where reading Pottermore is the only way to know further about the Harry Potter universe, as a majority of information is provided here that never appeared either in the books or during the film series. For this reason, the following will only be known to those who have read Pottermore.

10 Umbridge Was A Half-Blood With A Squib Brother

Everything about Umbridge became worse and worse as her character progressed, and it turns out she was never good, to begin with. According to Pottermore, she was the daughter of a wizard and a Muggle woman, even having a Squib brother.

She despised her sibling and mother so much that the two left Umbridge when she was fifteen and she never saw them again. She pretended to be descended from the Selwyns because she was ashamed of her father’s position as a worker in the Department of Magical Maintenance.

9 Iolanthe Peverell Passed the Invisibility Cloak Into The Potter Line

The long history of the Deathly Hallows has led to several continuity errors since tracing its whereabouts is so difficult. Pottermore revealed that a witch named Iolanthe Peverell was the one who began the Potter family’s inheritance of the Invisibility Cloak.

Iolanthe was the granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell, who married Hardwin Potter. Since the Peverell family didn’t have any male heirs at the time, it meant the inheritance went to the Potter name and that’s how the cloak kept passing down all the way up to Harry.

8 Ilvermorny School Was Founded By An Irish Immigrant

The Fantastic Beasts revealed Ilvermorny as one of the wizarding schools and the one Americans attended. Pottermore revealed that Ilvermorny was founded by an Irish witch named Isolt Sayre who had fled her home country to escape her abusive and pureblood extremist aunt. 

Ilvermorny had started as a homeschool for Isolt and her Muggle husband’s adoptive children, whom she couldn’t send to Hogwarts. Once their school began picking up new students, it grew exponentially to eventually become Ilvermorny that wizards knew today.

7 Cornelius Fudge Gave Himself The Order Of Merlin

There’s more than meets the eye with the Ministry of Magic, as several hidden details are present. Cornelius Fudge was notorious for receiving an Order of Merlin even though he’d done nothing to achieve it. According to Pottermore, he only got the distinction because he gave it to himself.

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This ties in with Fudge’s lackluster reign as the Minister for Magic, along with the massive propaganda that he used to make his term seem strong. Giving himself the Order of Merlin was no doubt a way to assert his power while appearing to be a legitimate authoritative personality.

6 One Must Have An Emotional Understanding Of Death To See Thestrals

The Thestrals aren’t really the most powerful magical creatures, but the stereotype surrounding them certainly makes wizards fear them. As revealed by Pottermore, being able to see Thestrals only by witnessing someone’s death has a catch attached to it.

In order for a person to do so, they need to have an understanding of what death entails. This means a baby like Harry wouldn’t qualify since he had no idea he was watching his parents die. Only when a person can understand the depth of what it means for a life to end do Thestrals become visible.

5 Professor Trelawney Was Once Married

Trelawney was a better Seer than she was given credit for, seeing as several of her predictions did come true. As for her past, this actually involved an ex-husband whom she had been married to before she took her job at Hogwarts.

The reason for her divorce is a rather weird one, with Pottermore revealing that Sybill’s marriage ended because she refused to take her husband’s surname of Higglebottom. This was due to the difficulty in pronouncing this name, and that seems to be enough for the couple to have gotten a divorce.

4 Greyback Turned Remus Into A Werewolf For Revenge

It was stated that Fenrir Greyback had been the one to turn Remus Lupin into a werewolf and Pottermore expanded upon this premise. It turns out that Remus’ father was an employee in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and recognized Greyback — who had been pretending to be a Muggle — as a werewolf.

Although Remus’ father couldn’t convince the Ministry, he insulted werewolves enough for Greyback to track his house down and attack his son out of revenge. So, poor Remus lived life as a werewolf all because his father lost his cool and badmouthed werewolves.

3 The Meaning Of A Hatstall And Who Qualified For It

There was always a curiosity among fans over what the term was for children who took a long time to be sorted into their Houses. Pottermore clarified the term to be a “Hatstall,” and that only two students were true Hatstalls. These were Minerva McGonagall and Peter Pettigrew.

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In McGonagall’s case, the Sorting Hat was unsure if she deserved to go to Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. In the matter of Pettigrew, it deliberated between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Both children sat for more than five minutes, which is considered as the required limit for one to be a Hatstall.

2 Trevor The Toad Escaped Into The Hogwarts Lake

Trevor was far from a helpful pet to Neville, instead being a source of exasperation due to his frequent attempts to escape. As mentioned in Pottermore, Trevor actually was successful in escaping, with his destination being the lake of Hogwarts.

His departure didn’t make Neville sad, though, as he felt relieved that he didn’t have to worry about catching the toad escape all the time. Trevor himself was happy with his freedom since he was able to join other magical amphibians of his kind in the lake.

1 Azkaban Was Originally A Torture Site

While Azkaban was a feared location for everyone, its origins were even more horrifying, as stated in Pottermore. Ekrizdis was a dark wizard who lured unsuspecting Muggle sailors to the location that would become Azkaban, where he tortured and killed them.

His exploits lasted long enough for the area to become infested with Dementors, who remained even after Ekrizdis’ death, the event that removed the concealment charms around the location. In order to make use of the area, the Ministry of Magic turned it into a prison and kept the Dementors there as guards.

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