11 Things You Realize When Re-Reading 'Harry Potter', Because J.K. Rowling Is A Master Of Foreshadowing
You've read and loved every moment of the Harry Potter series, from the opening line of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” to the last line of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, "All was well." And the only logical thing to do once you've read those last three words, is to start from book one again. And it's even better than the first time: there are so many things you'll realize when you re-read Harry Potter that you missed on the first go round.
It's no secret that J.K. Rowling is one of the world's most incredible storytellers. There is not a single accident or coincidence in the book — everything that happens is planted early on and develops throughout the course of the story. And that's what's so amazing.
But since the first time you read Harry Potter you had no idea how it was going to end, you most likely missed out on many of these expert and subtle foreshadowings. You might have even missed them on a second re-reading. But the more you delve into the series and keep coming back to Harry and his friends, the more rewarding each experience will be. You'll find characters, items and plot points mentioned way before they become important; you'll see that almost every prophecy made in the book comes true; you'll recognize just how amazing Rowling is at building a consistent and coherent world. As you re-read the series, here are some of the moments you'll stumble over and thing, "oh my God! I get it now!"
1. Sirius Black Is Mentioned In The First Chapter Of The First Book
When Hagrid delivers young Harry to the Dursley's doorstep, he flies in on a motorcycle. Dumbeldore inquires where he got it, to which Hagrid replies, "Young Sirius Black lent it to me." Then, two books later, Sirius comes in to be a central character — one who will win over and then break you heart. The first time you read The Sorcerer's Stone, you're so busy trying to figure out what the heck is happening (a flying motorcycle?! Cool!), you have no energy to devote to noticing a name. But when you start over, the name immediately jumps out at you. The beloved character was planted right there, in the first chapter of the entire series. Impressive.
2. Mundungus Fletcher Is Mentioned In Book Two
Readers know that Mundungus Fletcher comes in as an important player in The Order of the Pheonix. But, Arthur Weasley refers to him much earlier in the series in The Chamber Of Secrets, saying that he was causing a ruckus at the Ministry. Sounds like him.
3. Snape's Allegiance Is Foretold In Book Four
The first time you read the Harry Potter series, you spend a lot of time hemming and hawing over whether Snape is on the side of good or of evil. There are clues in every direction, and it feels impossible to know until you actually know. Except, the answer is right there in The Goblet of Fire. Harry sees Snape in Professor Moody's foeglass which, at the time, seems like a surefire sign that Snape is definitely a bad guy. But at the end of the fourth book, you learn that Professor Moody is actually Barty Crouch Jr., one of the baddest of the bad. So the fact that Snape is an enemy of the Dark Lord's servant tells us pretty clearly, right there, that Snape is not, in fact, on the side of evil. He was good all this time. Always.
4. Snape's Talents Are Also Foreshadowed
In The Order of the Phoenix, readers learn that Snape has the powers of legilimency, or the ability to invade another person's mind. And even though they don't know that for certain until book five, it seems that young Harry could sense this right from the start. In The Sorcerer's Stone, the narration says that Harry "sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds." Well Mr. Potter, he can. You are correct. Ten points for Gryffindor.
5. That Weird, Triumphant Look From Dumbledore
Anyone reading The Goblet of Fire for the first time is sure to be perplexed by Dumbledore's strange reaction to the culminating events. Harry comes back from inside the Triwizard maze with news of Voldemort's return and Cedric Diggory's death — and sees "something like triumph in Dumbeldore's eyes." Umm...what? This is incredibly disconcerting and perplexing. And you're not granted closure on this topic until the end of Deathly Hollows, when you learn that, because Voldemort used Harry's blood to resurrect himself, he will not be able to kill Harry, and Harry would definitely defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. So Dumbledore's seemingly strange triumph is a small detail with such significance.
6. The Room Of Requirement Has Been A Bathroom
In my opinion, the Room of Requirement is one of the absolute coolest aspects of Hogwarts. (If I went to the wizarding school, it would perpetually be a nap room.) It's essential to the plot in The Order of the Phoenix, but it actually makes a subtle appearance in The Goblet of Fire. Dumbledore explains that he took a wrong turn when going to the restroom, and stumbled across a room full of toilets that he had never known was there, and that was no longer there when he went back later. How do you think all of those chamber pots appeared? The Room of Requirement, that's how.
7. Professor Trelawney Knows Her Stuff
It's no secret that Trelawney is a bit nutty, but it's also pretty clear that her prophecies have some validity to them. Actually not some — they're all right. In book three, Trelawney declines a dinner invitation from Dumbledore because "when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die." Well, low and behold, two books later, thirteen dine together at the Order of the Phoenix. The first to rise? Sirius Black. Tears.
8. That Pesky Bezoar
The bezoar makes three appearances, across three different installments of the series. In The Sorcerer's Stone, Snape puts Harry on the spot and asks, “Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?” Since it's his first day at Hogwarts, Harry of course doesn't know the answer. Flash forward to The Goblet of Fire, when Harry performs poorly on a Potions exam because he forgets an important ingredient: a bezoar. Coincidence? Perhaps. But then, in The Half-Blood Prince, a bezoar is the exact thing Ron needs to be saved from the poison. Seems that Harry should have paid more attention in Potions.
9. The Other Dumbledore: Aberforth
Aberforth is mentioned in The Goblet of Fire, when Dumbledore tells Harry that his brother had practiced some "inappropriate charms on a goat." Um, weird. Then in The Order of the Phoenix, it is mentioned that the Hog's Head Pub smells like goats (interesting), and that the bartender is tall and thin with long grey hair and a beard. Sounds like a certain headmaster we've come to know and love, doesn't it? Yup, that strange bartender is none other than Aberforth Dumbledore, which is revealed in Deathly Hollows, even though the evidence was already there.
10. The Centuar's Knowledge
Centuars can read the stars, and here's what they say in The Sorcerer's Stone: that Voldemort will kill Harry. The half-men creatures also say "Mars is bright tonight," and, as Mars is the god of war, that sentence basically translates to "war is coming." Looks like the centuars might give Trelawney a run for her money on predicting the future.
11. The Locket!
In The Order of the Pheonix, Mrs. Weasley commands the crew to clean Grimmauld Place. Rowling describes the many possessions they go through, and hidden in the middle of the list is "a heavy locket that none of them could open." Sound familiar? Like, oh I don't know, a horcrux? Yup, that's what it is.
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