It’s Been 20 Years Since Harry Potter Was Released – And The Cast Are Barely Recognizable Today

The Harry Potter movie franchise is 20 in 2021. Happy birthday, guys! But while the new Fantastic Beasts films are carrying the torch now for Potter fans, let’s go back to where it all began. Here’s what 40 of the original Harry Potter cast members looked like then ‒ and how they are now. Prepare yourself, though, as some of the actors are virtually unrecognizable today.

40. Chris Rankin – Percy Weasley

Chris Rankin’s biggest role in front of the camera has probably been as Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. But he’s also tried his hand at things behind the scenes. Rankin was a production coordinator behind seven episodes of TV’s Downton Abbey as well as eight episodes of A Discovery of Witches. Now, that’s a step up from head boy!

39. Luke Youngblood – Lee Jordan

Luke Youngblood appeared in the first two Harry Potter films as Quidditch commentator Lee Jordan. And just as Lee used his voice to reach a larger audience, Youngblood’s done the same. Since his time on the Harry Potter set, the actor has lent his dulcet tones to various video games and animated TV series. Sounds like he found his calling.

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38. Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy

Tom Felton scooped awards for portraying villain Draco Malfoy – the bully everyone loves to hate. “If young children boo me, that makes my day,” he’s been quoted as saying. In reality, though, Felton couldn’t be more different from Draco. In 2017 he told a young Potter fan, “Do you wanna hear a secret? I’m nice in real life. It’s only Draco that’s mean.”

37. James and Oliver Phelps – Fred and George Weasley

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In true-to-character fashion, James and Oliver Phelps skipped school to audition for the parts of Fred and George Weasley. And perhaps their most memorable scene in the movies was the moment of Fred’s death. Understandably, Oliver was heartbroken at seeing his real-life brother pass away on screen. “I took one look at James on the stretcher and burst into tears,” the actor said. “I can’t even imagine how it would feel to lose him.” Aww.

36. Josh Herdman – Gregory Goyle

As Gregory Goyle, Josh Herdman was fearsome indeed. Draco’s goon would have been even scarier, however, if he’d had Herdman’s fighting skills. Yep, the actor took up mixed martial arts in 2016, although he’s still seen on screen to this day. His most notable post-Potter roles include Righteous in 2018’s Robin Hood and as Stan in the British TV series Alex Rider.

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35. Alfie Enoch – Dean Thomas

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While Dean Thomas wasn’t one of Harry’s inner circle, he did still appear in most of the movies. And in 2016 Alfie Enoch told Entertainment Weekly that he appreciated Dean’s grounding presence, saying, “I always felt Dean was quite funny. He’s like an ordinary guy.” The actor’s other memorable performances? Well, he was Wes in a little show called How to Get Away with Murder. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

34. Jamie Waylett – Vincent Crabbe

Vincent Crabbe – played by Jamie Waylett – was one of Draco’s goons in most of the Harry Potter movies. Sadly, though, a drug charge cost Waylett his role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. They seem to have spelled the end for his career, too, as he hasn’t acted since.

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33. Frank Dillane – Teen Tom Riddle

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If you’re a fan of Fear the Walking Dead, this may come as a surprise. Frank Dillane, who plays Nick, is actually teen Tom Riddle from The Half-Blood Prince. Yes, really! But while both those characters are screen history now, you can get your Dillane fix in 2021’s The Girlfriend Experience.

32. Harry Melling – Dudley Dursley

Coincidentally, Harry Potter’s mean cousin Dudley was played by another Harry – Melling, that is. And the actor dropped so much weight during filming that he nearly lost the role. Yikes! Thankfully, special effects came to the rescue. Melling also played Harry Beltik in The Queen’s Gambit, in case you didn’t recognize him.

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31. Miranda Richardson – Rita Skeeter

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Miranda Richardson appeared as the manipulative Rita Skeeter in two Harry Potter movies: The Goblet of Fire and The Deathly Hallows – Part 1. And following the end of the movie franchise, she told Behind the Lens that the Potter series is timeless. “I think it’s a great thing to be part of,” Richardson explained in 2011. “I think it’s something that’s gonna last, even though special effects move on at pace.”

30. Hugh Mitchell – Colin Creevey

Remember little Colin Creevey and his camera in The Chamber of Secrets? He’s all grown up! Since Colin’s untimely demise, though, his actor, Hugh Mitchell, has been in The Da Vinci Code as young Silas. He’s also popped up in a ton of TV series, and his life’s begun to imitate art. Yep, much like his Harry Potter counterpart, Hugh’s a keen photographer! You can see his work on Instagram.

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29. Jamie Yeates – Marcus Flint

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You may recall Marcus Flint – the Slytherin Quidditch player with the prominent teeth – from The Chamber of Secrets. Well, his actor, Jamie Yeates, had to wear dentures for that, er, unusual mouth. But Yeates is looking a lot better nowadays, and – in what may come as a surprise – he’s now a successful model.

28. Katie Leung – Cho Chang

Katie Leung, a.k.a. Cho Chang, has branched out since playing Harry Potter’s romantic interest. More recently, the roles she’s taken – including a part in Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner – have largely honored her Chinese heritage. The star has made these screen appearances memorable and complex, though. “Just because they have been race-specific doesn’t mean that I’m playing this one-dimensional character,” Leung told the BBC in 2016.

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27. Clémence Poésy – Fleur Delacour

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Clémence Poésy only appeared briefly in the Potter movies as Fleur Delacour, but she certainly made an impression. And the quarter-Veela must have captivated talent scouts as well as audiences, as she’s now a successful actor on French television. Poésy fans can see her in dark drama The Tunnel and in 2021’s En thérapie. Oh, and you may have spotted the star in Tenet, too.

26. Maggie Smith – Professor McGonagall

Now that we’ve seen Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. In 2019, however, Smith told the Evening Standard that the part didn’t exactly stretch her and “wasn’t what you’d call satisfying.” That sounds damning, but the veteran actress was grateful for the opportunity all the same. And, charmingly, she’s claimed that being in the Harry Potter movies allowed her to get even closer to her five grandchildren. Aww.

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25. Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad – Parvati and Padma Patil

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Harry Potter regulars Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad played witchy twins Padma and Parvati Patil, respectively. And you can still see Azad in front of a camera, although nowadays she’s likely to be striking a pose during modeling shoots. Chowdhury, on the other hand, has been in a number of short films in recent years, including Odilo Fabian – which also stars Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville – and Stephen King adaptation I Am the Doorway.

24. Bonnie Wright – Ginny Weasley

Ginny Weasley’s importance to the Potterverse grew as the movie series went on. She even ended up as – spoiler alert! – Harry Potter’s wife. And since leaving those films behind, Bonnie Wright has practically proved herself to be a Renaissance woman. She’s acted, modeled and has been behind the camera as both a director and producer for short films. How does she find the time?!

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23. Domhnall Gleeson – Bill Weasley

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The Harry Potter movies were something of a family affair for Bill Weasley star Domhnall Gleeson. Remember Mad-Eye Moody? He was played by Domhnall’s dad, Brendan! And like his pop, the Irish actor has gone from strength to strength ever since. You may have recognized him as General Hux in Star Wars: Episode VIII ‒ The Last Jedi and its follow-up The Rise of Skywalker.

22. Jason Isaacs – Lucius Malfoy

Before Harry Potter, Jason Isaacs already had a string of unforgettable roles under his belt. Playing the detestable Lucius Malfoy just added to the magic. And after his audition, Isaacs got so into the Harry Potter books ‒ which he called “crack” ‒ that he read four of them consecutively. With that kind of passion, it’s no surprise he made such a convincing villain.

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21. Jessie Cave – Lavender Brown

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Harry’s fellow Gryffindor student Lavender Brown, played by Jessie Cave, featured in the last three Potter films. But Cave herself has branched out since. In addition to acting in various TV shows, she’s now a successful stand-up comedian. Coincidentally, she’s also voicing a character named Belinda Potter in an upcoming animation called, well, The Potters. Funny old world, isn’t it?

20. Gary Oldman – Sirius Black

Gary Oldman brought his undeniable acting chops to the role of Harry’s tragically doomed godfather Sirius Black. But the Oscar-winning Hollywood veteran didn’t think the series was beneath him. Quite the contrary, in fact! In 2016 Oldman told Balitang America, “Being part of Harry Potter is a great thing. It’s a cinematic phenomena, and no one will ever do anything quite like it again or come close to it.”

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19. Devon Murray – Seamus Finnigan

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Remember Seamus Finnigan? He was the Irish wizard who, well, exploded every so often. And he was portrayed by Devon Murray, who’s only acted in one film since, with an uncredited role in 2018’s Damo & Ivor The Movie. But Murray seems content enough, as one look at his Instagram page proves. “You have made me the happiest person in the world,” he wrote on the social media site in February 2021. Who was he referring to? His newborn son.

18. Robbie Coltrane – Rubeus Hagrid

Hagrid’s popularity arguably reaches beyond the Potter books, and Robbie Coltrane portrayed the kindly half-giant perfectly on screen. In 2009, though, the British star said that he didn’t recognize himself after the makeup team had finished turning him into the big wizard. Coltrane’s reaction to seeing his reflection? “Good God, who’s that?”

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17. Pam Ferris – Aunt Marge

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Aunt Marge didn’t have the biggest role in the Potterverse, but fans will always remember her as the terrible woman who insulted Harry until he turned her into a balloon. And since the movies, actress Pam Ferris has kept busy with TV shows – most notably as Sister Evangelina in Call the Midwife. She has another link to fantasy, too, after portraying Mrs. Faulkner in 2019’s Tolkien – all about the Lord of the Rings author.

16. David Bradley – Argus Filch

Though we love to hate David Bradley’s character Argus Filch, we’re glad that his cat Mrs. Norris wasn’t turned into a, well, purrmanent statue. As for Bradley himself, he’s barely stopped since the Harry Potter movies left theaters. He’s appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger and horror series The Strain, for instance, although you may also recognize him as Walder Frey in Game of Thrones. He’s not averse to voice acting, either, and so you could have heard his vocal talents without even realizing it.

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15. Imelda Staunton – Dolores Umbridge

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Few villains inspire hate as much as one-time defense against the dark arts teacher Dolores Umbridge. Her actress appears to loathe her, too. Back in 2016, Imelda Staunton told Entertainment Weekly, “I think [Dolores is] a monster and [should] be played as such.” That’s not mincing words! Perhaps Staunton will find it light relief, then, to portray the Queen in season five of The Crown.

14. Sean Biggerstaff – Oliver Wood

Sean Biggerstaff’s last name could almost be a name for a Potterverse wand! Maybe he was destined to play young Quidditch captain Oliver Wood in The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. And since his Potter days, Biggerstaff’s been in a lot of TV shorts. His next, er, big role, though, is in mysterious upcoming thriller Hector & Himself.

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13. Shirley Henderson – Moaning Myrtle

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You know Moaning Myrtle, the creepy 14-year-old ghost girl who hung around the Hogwarts restrooms? Well, she was actually played by Shirley Henderson – who was actually in her mid-30s when she appeared in The Chamber of Secrets. Color us shocked! Henderson has more age-appropriate roles under her belt, however – most notably Jude in Bridget Jones’s Baby. She also voiced Babu Frik in Star Wars blockbuster The Rise of Skywalker.

12. Ralph Fiennes – Voldemort

The evil Lord Voldemort didn’t just leave a lasting impression on fans. Oh, no – he also had an impact on established actor Ralph Fiennes. You see, in 2019 Fiennes lightheartedly told the BBC’s Newsnight that he wouldn’t want to see anyone else in the role. “I feel a kind of affection for Voldemort,” the Oscar nominee explained. “So, if there was a world in which Voldemort came back, I would be very possessive about wanting to reprise that.”

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11. Ian Hart – Professor Quirrell

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Ian Hart got ahead of the game when he played Professor Quirrell, the host body for Lord Voldemort. So, what’s he doing when he doesn’t have the personification of evil attached to his skull? Well, he’s appearing on British TV, for one. Hart’s added acclaimed alternate history series Noughts + Crosses and crime drama Tin Star to his resume, for example. You may know him best, however, from Netflix’s Viking drama The Last Kingdom.

10. Scarlett Byrne – Pansy Parkinson

Scarlett Hefner, née Byrne, played the Slytherin witch Pansy Parkinson in the last three Potter movies. It wasn’t the last time she was in a sci-fi series, either, as she went on to star in TNT’S alien invasion drama Falling Skies. And, well, she didn’t suck as Nora Hildegard in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Does her new surname sound familiar? That’s probably because she married the son of late Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner in 2019.

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9. Michael Gambon – Albus Dumbledore

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After the tragic death of Richard Harris, Sir Michael Gambon stepped up to play Albus Dumbledore in his stead. And in 2015 Future Movies asked the veteran actor how he managed to ease back into the role of Hogwarts’ headmaster for Fantastic Beasts. Apparently? It was no biggie. Gambon said, “Well, I don’t have to play anyone, really. I just stick on a beard and play me, so it’s no great feat.” Fair enough!

8. Natalia Tena – Nymphadora Tonks

Natalia Tena has a talent for playing much-loved characters. Her metamorphosing witch alter ego Tonks is a firm fan favorite, as is Osha, her wildling character in Game of Thrones. Can she repeat the process in her mysterious 2021 series Wolfe? Only time will tell, but with Tena’s own chameleonic acting skills, we wouldn’t be surprised.

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7. Evanna Lynch – Evanna Lynch

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Evanna Lynch’s charming performance as the eccentric Luna Lovegood won over many – including, it seems, youngsters with autism. “I always get a lot of letters from people with autism who relate to Luna a lot,” Lynch told Insider in 2020. “Obviously, everyone’s very different, and every case of autism is different. But I think that they see that Luna is somebody who doesn’t quite fit in.”

6. Stanislav Yanevski – Viktor Krum

Stanislav Yanevski – a.k.a. Viktor Krum – has bulked up a lot since his Potter days. When’s he’s not pumping iron at the gym, though, he’s still acting, including in the 2011 British film Resistance. Yanevski’s also taken to producing some upcoming projects and occasionally Instagrams Potter-related posts. What a dude.

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5. Christian Coulson – Young Tom Riddle

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This one may surprise you. Remember the child who played young Tom Riddle in The Chamber of Secrets? Well, that was Christian Coulson, and here he is all grown up! Post-Potter, Coulson’s been landing regular TV work both in the U.K. and the U.S. You may most recognize him, however, for playing music video director Damien George in Nashville.

4. Matthew Lewis – Neville Longbottom

Matthew Lewis stunned fans with a topless shoot for Attitude magazine. His transformation from unassuming teenager to muscular stud even inspired the term Neville Longbottoming – or, basically, becoming hot. Lewis remains modest about this feat, though, telling HelloGiggles in 2018, “I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I would have coined a phrase.” After leaving the Harry Potter movies behind, the heartthrob has been a regular on British TV screens, with performances in gory drama Ripper Street and the more gentle All Creatures Great and Small.

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3. Rupert Grint – Ron Weasley

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Rupert Grint seems to still love Ron Weasley. Apparently, he once said of his on-screen alter ego, “The truth is that Ron is my hero. He’s always there for his friends ‒ sometimes belligerently, but there nevertheless. He’s also the comic relief in stressful situations.” And just like Ron, Grint has arachnophobia. Yes, that means he’s struggled to watch the Aragog scenes from The Chamber of Secrets!

2. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger

Although Hermione Granger was a wallflower, her actress Emma Watson is anything but. Just like Hermione, though, Emma’s well-educated. She’s a campaigner for equal rights, too, though Watson’s cause is women’s issues rather than freeing house elves. And since the Potter movies ended, you’ve probably seen the star as Belle in Disney’s 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast.

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1. Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

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If there’s one Harry Potter actor who needs no introduction, it’s Daniel Radcliffe ‒ who, of course, played the famous wizard. We watched him grow into adulthood over the course of the original movies, and it’s safe to say his career has matured with him. DanRad has starred in horror movies, a biopic, a romcom and even a controversial stage show that saw him appear naked. Yikes!

But maybe you’re a die-hard Potterhead who’s been tracking Radcliffe ever since he took off Harry’s glasses. In that case, there’s probably little about the franchise that surprises you – until now. Think you know all there is to know about the Harry Potter villains? Well, here are 20 subtle details that may well have disapparated past you.

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20. Lucius Malfoy’s Trial

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We all know that the creep-tacular Lucius Malfoy belongs in Azkaban Prison at the Dementor’s mercy – or lack thereof. But did you know there’s a hidden detail in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince revealing that Malfoy did time there? It isn’t on screen for long and if you blink you’ll miss it, but it’s definitely there.

During the subway sequence at the start of the movie, pause the film and check out Harry’s newspaper. One of the pieces reports how the Ministry of Magic handed Malfoy senior a sentence in Azkaban. Unfortunately for all involved, though, the bulletin also details the crafty snake’s subsequent escape. You just can’t keep a bad guy down.

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19. Umbridge’s Subtle Skulls

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Voldemort has the biggest bad guy rep, but fans have a special dislike for Harry’s torturous teacher, Dolores Umbridge. With her sing-song voice and pastel clothing, she’s all smiles and good manners. Until she forces Mr. Potter to carve words into his own skin, of course. Her clothes contain a tiny detail that hints at her true nature, though.

Pay very close attention to Umbridge’s bright clothes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. See how her cuffs and bows have decorative emblems? Well, look a little closer. They’re small skulls that have diamonds set into their eye sockets. Just when you thought she couldn’t get any more creepy…

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18. Hermione’s Haymaker

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Before his redemption arc, Draco Malfoy is the worst. Not only is he a terrible person but also a terrible bully to Harry and his friends. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so satisfying when Hermione lets loose and punches him straight in the face. The other reason is Malfoy’s reaction.

Well, it turns out that you just can’t fabricate that kind of response. For their scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the actor who plays Malfoy, Tom Felton, told Emma Watson (Hermione) to “fake slap” him. But she accidentally hit him with a full-on strike instead, and Felton’s reaction is completely genuine.

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17. He Who Must Not Be Named

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Any Potter fan worth their salt can tell you that wizards fear the name Voldemort. From the instant Harry learns about the big bad in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, that’s made clear. Most wizards – with the exception of Death Eaters, Harry and the eminent Albus Dumbledore – refer to the dark lord as “He Who Must Not Be Named.”

The first Harry Potter movie tips its Sorting Hat to the subject when the credits roll. Instead of being cited as playing Lord Voldemort, Richard Bremmer – the original actor in the role – was credited as “He Who Must Not Be Named.” Incidentally, JK Rowling has stated on Twitter that the “t” in Voldemort is silent. But if you can’t say his name then it’s a moot point, right?

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16. Applauding Death Eater

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No one can claim that Death Eaters are a friendly bunch. The name kind of gives their game away. But there are apparently some among the faction who are more enthusiastic than others. Take the graveyard scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example, which is creepy enough as it is.

First Harry Potter’s rival Cedric Diggory is killed, then Peter Pettigrew severs his hand to resurrect Voldemort. And things go from bad to worse when the Dark Lord returns for a round of “torture Harry Potter.” Wormtail wasn’t the only one giving Voldemort a hand, though. A Death Eater merrily applauds their master during the sadistic show like they’ve got front row seats for Hamilton.

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15. Umbridge’s Growing Power

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Umbridge loves bright colors. It’s one of the things that separates her visually from the other Harry Potter villains. They often prefer to skulk around in black robes while she swans about in twee, bow-decorated shades of pink. Yet Umbridge’s wardrobe changes ever so slightly for her subsequent appearances in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The Warner Bros Studio Tour reveals that this was a calculated decision to mimic Umbridge’s rise to power. She starts out wearing bright pastel pinks, but they darken as the movie goes on. Not only does this coincide with the darker tone of the film, but also with Umbridge’s escalating authority.

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14. Quirky Barty Crouch Jr.

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It’s hard to forget David Tennant’s excellent performance as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He brought the character to life with an eerie, lip-licking quirk reminiscent of a lizard… or a snake. And this tic actually has a key role in a nifty bit of foreshadowing that you may have missed.

Barty Crouch Jr. has a conversation with his father while disguised as Hogwarts professor Mad-Eye Moody. During this exchange, Crouch Sr. is seemingly shocked when his son is referenced. But it isn’t the subject that shakes him. Crouch Sr.’s reacting to Crouch Jr.’s tell-tale tic, which even a Polyjuice Potion can’t conceal.

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13. Prepared Death Eater

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 shows the wizarding world in chaos. Voldemort’s risen again, Harry and friends are on the run and Death Eaters are slithering all over the place. And if you watch carefully, you can detect subtle body language from the pair that ambush Harry’s team in the cafe.

One of the “workers” has a wand sticking out of their pocket. This mightn’t be unusual in the wizarding world, though. So what about when the other one gently pats their leg to make sure their wand’s in place? Even before Harry notices their suspicious behavior, the Death Eaters have hands on their wands. And in public, too!

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12. Voldemort’s Fading Robes

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Let’s face it, Voldemort doesn’t look like the kind of snake man who worries about his laundry. Maybe he should, though, considering the films use his wardrobe as a visual aid. If you pay attention to You-Know-Who’s robes, they go through some changes, especially in the last few films. Harry and friends are responsible for that.

Voldemort intentionally split his soul into seven different vessels – including his own body – called Horcruxes. And every time Harry’s group eradicates one, the villain becomes weaker. To represent this visually, the film team wanted to indicate Voldemort was fading away, so they made his clothes a shade lighter whenever a Horcrux had been dealt with. That must be terrible for someone calling himself the Dark Lord.

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11. Nagini’s Reflection

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Voldemort is proof that even horrific human-snake monsters with genocidal tendencies love their pets. Nagini is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s giant snake and – spoilers ahead – also a Horcrux. Part of Voldemort’s soul is inside his scale-baby, which probably explains his fondness for her (yes, she used to be a person). And there’s a hidden Nagini in one of the films.

It’s easy to miss, so well done if you’ve already spotted it. But if you haven’t, check out the Warner logo at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The metallic emblem reflects a slithering shape, all scales and malice. That’s Nagini, probably looking for another person to eat.

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10. Horcrux Foreshadowing

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It’s fair to say that Tom Riddle – the boy who’d later become Voldemort – was a bit obsessive. He had a thing against muggles (non-magical people, for the uninitiated) and was fascinated by cheating death. You can even see evidence of Tom’s Horcrux obsession in one of the film’s flashbacks.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives us more insight into Tom’s past. And we even get to see the bedroom he stayed in as a kid. But perhaps the most understated – and important – feature in the scene is the collection of stones sitting on the windowsill. There are seven of them, hinting at the seven Horcruxes that Voldemort will one day create.

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9. Grindelwald’s Name-Drop

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Thanks in part to the Fantastic Beasts movies, Potter fans are seeing Gellert Grindelwald in a new light. That dark wizard had his fingers in a lot of pies when it comes to the wizarding world’s history. And it turns out that his presence was established way back in the debut Harry Potter novel.

Harry and his friends collect trading cards depicting the most famous wizards and witches of all time. A card featuring Albus Dumbeldore and his illustrious history is among Harry’s personal collection. And the description mentions an epic duel Dumbledore had with a dark wizard: Grindelwald.

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8. Tom Riddle’s Hogwarts Award

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Considering how he became a mass-murdering psychopath, Voldemort has a lot to answer for. Even as a child he performed some unspeakable acts that left psychological scars on his fellow orphans. By the time he reached Hogwarts, though, Tom Riddle had learnt to conceal his dark impulses. Hogwarts staff noted and even rewarded his good behavior.

According to Tom himself, teachers and students saw him as “a school prefect, a model student.” But don’t take his word for it – there’s proof in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After being handed a stint in detention, Ron was tasked with tidying up the Hogwarts trophy chamber. And it appears they kept Tom’s shield for “special services” on show.

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7. Bellatrix’s One Fear

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Bellatrix Lestrange earned the loathing of the Potter fan-base when she murdered a couple of much-cherished characters: Sirius Black and Dobby. She’s insane, fights like a caged animal and fears nothing. Or does she? There’s actually one person in The Order of the Phoenix she’s not crazy enough to fight, and with good reason.

Just like her beloved Voldemort, Bellatrix knows that Albus Dumbledore would beat her six ways from Sunday. So in The Order of the Phoenix, instead of fighting the Hogwarts headmaster, Bellatrix turns tail and runs. But she and Voldemort are at least the only characters able to deflect Dumbledore’s magic at times.

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6. Voldemort’s Family Issues

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Voldemort was obsessed with blood purity and believed in keeping things – such as marriage and breeding – in the family. And that, good readers, is how you end up with a snake face. But he still had family issues and hated one of his distant relatives most of all. Can you guess who it is?

Think about it: the Peverells, who owned the Deathly Hallows, handed their treasures down through the generations. Cadmus Peverell’s Resurrection Stone eventually went to his offspring – the Gaunts – and Voldemort. Ignotus Peverell’s granddaughter Iolanthe Peverell inherited the Cloak of Invisibility. She then wed Hardwin Potter and the Cloak went with her – ultimately, to Harry. That’s right – Harry’s Voldemort’s distant cousin.

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5. Merope Gaunt’s Unrequited Love

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Voldemort’s mom, Merope Gaunt, started out in life suffering abuse and it followed her into adulthood. She actually used her magical skills to bewitch her future husband, Tom Riddle senior. It didn’t end well, though. When Merope lifted the bewitchment, Riddle left and she ended up dying shortly after Tom Riddle Jr. was born.

And some fans have theorized that Voldemort couldn’t understand love because he was born from a magical coercion. But that isn’t the case, as Rowling explained during a web-chat on The Leaky Cauldron in 2007. “Everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised [Voldemort] herself and loved him,” she revealed.

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4. Aragog’s a nightmare

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When it comes to creepy critters in the Harry Potter universe, Aragog is likely high on your list. A massive spider living in a forest with an army of car-sized spawn is an arachnophobe’s worse nightmare. By the sound of it, though, he was just as nightmarish behind the scenes, albeit for different reasons.

The movie team made a massive Aragog model prop for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And to get that terrible tarantula look just right, they used coconuts for the creature’s hair. But Aragog was so big that it took at least seven operators to shift it for the scenes!

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3. The Battle of Hogwarts

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The odds were stacked against Harry and his friends from the start. Even in their first year at Hogwarts, Dementors, werewolves, giant spiders and trolls were flinging themselves at the group. They managed to win, of course, because that’s what heroes do. But it’s easy to forget how many trials they’d overcome by the end of the series.

So the producers came up with an ingenious way of reminding viewers how much the Potter team had progressed. During the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, all of these enemies face our heroes. This time, though, the trio dispense with the monsters with a minimum of effort. Our babies are all grown up!

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2. Lucius Malfoy’s Tattoo

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The Harry Potter films don’t cover Lucius Malfoy’s antics in Azkaban directly, but it’s clearly been taken into consideration. We’ve already covered how he was sent to – and escaped from – the most feared prison in the wizarding world. And there’s also evidence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 that he didn’t get out unscathed.

The next time you see Malfoy following his arrest, he looks rough. But there’s an even more subtle clue to his time spent in magical jail. If you watch carefully, you can catch a glimpse of a number tattooed on the older Malfoy’s neck. That’s his prisoner number, and a keepsake from his days in Azkaban.

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1. To the Core

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It’s obvious from the start that there’s a connection between Harry and Voldemort. They share a psychic link and both speak the snake language Parseltongue, for starters. But when Harry chooses his wand at Ollivander’s – or rather when the wand chooses him – the shop owner’s intrigued. Wands with phoenix cores called out to both Harry and Tom Riddle.

There was one difference between the wizard’s wands, though: the type of wood. You have to dig into the mythology a bit to find the relevance, but it’s there. Harry’s wand was a holly base, which is thought to protect against evil. Voldemort’s wand, on the other hand, was made from yew and contains a toxic resin.

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