From the way Hogwarts letters are delivered to the symbols of the school Houses, there are several misconceptions about the world of Harry Potter that even fans often get wrong. This has much to do with the Warner Bros movies and how they misrepresented certain aspects of the wizarding world for various reasons. Still, other incorrect ideas developed over the years and became widely accepted by the fandom. Regardless of how the mix-ups happened, the Harry Potter books have the definitive answers.



The seven Harry Potter books established the wizarding world and described how its society functioned as well as its history. From here, the lore became even more detailed, as the Wizarding World website began to answer more questions and built on the foundation the original series started. However, with installments like the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies, things became slightly more confusing. Eventually, a few false facts about this lore developed traction until they became commonly accepted by Harry Potter fans. This makes it all the more surprising to read the books and remember that they were never true.

RELATED: What’s Next For The Harry Potter Franchise?

10 Hogwarts Letters Don’t Arrive On A Wizard’s 11th Birthday

Harry Potter

A common experience for those who became Harry Potter fans before they turned 11 is the utter disappointment when that significant birthday comes and goes without an owl appearing with a Hogwarts letter. It means that Hogwarts will forever remain out of reach. Though understanding what this feels like has led to an increased sense of kinship within the fandom, it has also led to the misconception that a witch or wizard in Harry Potter gets their letter on their birthday. In truth, the letters get sent out to all students on the same day, a couple of weeks before the start of term every year.

9 Ravenclaw’s Symbol Is An Eagle – Not A Raven

Harry Potter Ravenclaw crest.

Every Hogwarts house in Harry Potter has an animal as a part of its symbol. Gryffindor is, of course, a lion. Hufflepuff is a badger, Slytherin is a snake, and Ravenclaw is—not a raven—but an eagle. The animal that represented Rowena Ravenclaw’s house was chosen because eagles have raven (the color) claws. However, since the first bird that comes to someone’s mind when hearing the house name is like to be a raven, the Harry Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts movies made a change.

8 Durmstrang & Beauxbatons Are Not Single-Gender Schools

Beauxbatons students arrive at Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the first time other wizarding schools were introduced to audiences. In the movies, Durmstrang was the all-boys school in Russia or somewhere in northern Europe, and Beauxbatons was the all-girl one in France. However, this wasn’t the case in the Harry Potter books. Though Viktor Krum was a boy and Fleur Delacour a girl, both schools were seen to have male and female students. Additionally, Durmstrang and Beuxbatons only brought a select few students above 17 to Hogwarts—another fact that Harry Potter movies have made audiences forget.

7 Evil Characters Can Cast Patronuses In Harry Potter

Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge with her Cat Patronus

Since a Patronus is cast by conjuring up a happy memory, a common assumption is that only good wizards are capable of casting them. This idea is often used when discussing Severus Snape’s doe Patronus since, if it were true, it would be definitive proof he was good. However, the Harry Potter books and movies demonstrated that evil wizards could also have Patronus since Dolores Umbridge was seen using one in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Ultimately, the idea of a happy memory is subjective since, to people like Umbridge, even evil things like tormenting Muggle-borns can serve to conjure a Partronus.

RELATED: Every Main Character’s Patronus (& What It Really Means)

6 Horcruxes Aren’t Just ‘Spare’ Souls

An image of Harry asking Tom Riddle for the wand in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes was found and nearly given a corporeal body as a result. This led to a misconception once the concept of Horcruxes was explained later in the Harry Potter series that this was how the Dark objects were supposed to function—like spare fragments of souls that could come to life and carry on after a wizard died. This makes sense, considering Tom Riddle desired to make several of them (and therefore have more spares). However, the idea here is that a partial soul cannot carry on to the afterlife, so if a wizard has a Horcrux hidden somewhere, they cannot die.

5 Time-Turners Can’t Actually Change The Past

How Time Turners Work In HP & TCC (& Why It Ruins Prisoner of Azkaban)

A common question regarding the Harry Potter series is why the characters didn’t use Time-Turners to go back and time and stop Voldemort from ever murdering the Potters. Of course, answers involving the butterfly effect are often given, and this idea with Time-Turners was explored in the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. However, even this doesn’t line up with wizarding world lore. The events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban proved that time travel couldn’t be used to change past events since any changes made would already have been reflected in the outcome (like with Harry saving himself with the stag Patronus).

4 Polyjuice Potion Does Change The Users Voice

Mad Eye Moody Crouch Jr. Under PolyJuice Potion Holding His Wand

Polyjuice potion was a frequent tool in the Harry Potter books. Every time a person used the gloopy brew throughout Harry’s story, they took on the form of their target perfectly—voice included. If this hadn’t been the case, Barty Crouch Jr’s mission surely would have failed, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s plan to enter the Ministry of Magic would have been downright foolish. Unfortunately, the Harry Potter movies saw fit to change this detail, leading to confusion about whether a person keeps their voice or not when magic changes their form.

3 Wands Don’t Connect In A Typical Wizarding Duel

Harry Potter dueling Voldemort with Priori Incantatem at a graveyard.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry and Voldemort’s wands connected while they dueled. The reason for this, as explained by the book, was their brother wand cores. In battle, the wands became confused, and instead of attacking one another, they created a stream of connected magic and ignited a phenomenon known as Piori Incantatem in the world of Harry Potter. This shouldn’t have been repeated in any old wizarding duel, but it certainly was in the Harry Potter movies. This has led to the belief that this is simply the standard for battles with magic and ultimately diminished the impactful ending of Goblet of Fire.

2 Hogwarts Is Located In Scotland – Not England

Hogwarts Castle in Harry Potter (3) (1)

When faced with Harry Potter trivia, it would be easy to answer “England” when asked where most of the series is set. After all, the Ministry of Magic and Platform 9¾ are in London, and Harry and most of his friends lived in England. However, Hogwarts Castle itself is in the Highlands region of Scotland. In fact, the Black Lake is a loch. Of course, as part of the United Kingdom, it’s easy to get them mixed up—which is why even Harry Potter fans often provide the wrong answer.

1 Most Wizards Cannot Fly Without A Broom

Harry-Potter-Film-Only-Death-eaters-over-England Cropped (1)

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry was escaping from the Dursleys, the Order of the Phoenix members were shocked to see that Lord Voldemort was flying after them without a broom. Unsupported flight was unheard of in the wizarding world, and the implication is that the Dark Lord invented this spell himself. He only ever thought it to one of his supporters, Severus Snape. However, the Harry Potter movies made it seem as if all wizards, especially Dark ones, could fly (often surrounded by a puff of smoke – either black or white, depending on if they were good or bad). Ultimately, this never made much sense—but it’s easy to forget it was never a part of Harry Potter canon.


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