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  • Old English Folklore Inspired Dobby's Name on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#18) Old English Folklore Inspired Dobby's Name

    Dobby's heartwarming loyalty to Harry and his eventual freedom made him a fan favorite for Harry Potter fans, but many do not realize the careful execution behind the beloved house elf's name. Dobby is actually an old English word that refers to an elf from fables. According to old stories, dobbies performed tasks secretly at night.

    In these stories, dobbies were said to disappear when offered clothes or shoes. House elves, of course, gain their freedom when offered clothing from their master. 

  • A German Literary Movement Inspired The Durmstrang School's Name on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#19) A German Literary Movement Inspired The Durmstrang School's Name

    The Durmstrang Institute was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the Scandinavian school contender in the Triwizard Tournament. Their name, like many names in the Harry Potter universe, was not picked at random, but this Rowling reference was particularly esoteric. The Durmstrang school was named after a little known German literary movement called Sturm and Drang, German for "storm and stress." The 18th Century movement wanted to overthrow rationalism associated with Enlightenment-era thinking and placed value on nature, feeling, and individualism. 

    Is there any relation behind the philosophy of the Sturm and Drang movement and the Durmstrang Institute? Not really. According to Pottermore, the school does have a dark reputation and, historically, turned out many morally questionable witches and wizards. Perhaps it was the sinister connotations of the words "storm" and "stress" themselves that drew Rowling to the name. 

  • The Death Eaters Allude To The Nazi Movement on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#1) The Death Eaters Allude To The Nazi Movement

    It's no secret Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince producer David Heyman also produced the Holocaust drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Apparently, his experience working on the film helped him wrap his mind around Voldemort and the Death Eaters because they shared similar ideals about blood purity.

    “Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters, are obsessed with the preservation of blood purity,” Heyman said in an interview, “They’re not Nazis but they recall the politics and attitudes of Nazi Germany. And aesthetically—although it’s a cliché—the [Death Eater] Lucius Malfoy and his family are blond, like Hitler’s ideal of the quintessential Aryan.”

    Throughout the series, prejudiced characters like Lucius Malfoy would use the term "half-blood" to refer to wizards who had muggles in their ancestry. This is similar to how Nazis used a Mischling test to determine whether or not a person had Jewish heritage. If a person was found to be Mischling (or mixed-blood) they could face racial persecution, which often included sterilization. According to JK Rowling, who only noticed the parallels after visiting a Holocaust museum, being a half-blood wizard was just as bad as being a full-fledged muggle to a Death Eater. 

  • Nicolas Flamel Was A Real-Life French Scholar on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#2) Nicolas Flamel Was A Real-Life French Scholar

    Nicolas Flamel of the Harry Potter world is actually a real person. In the series, Flamel is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, which grants immortality with the Elixir of Life. According to Pottermore, the real Nicolas Flamel hails from fourteenth century France. Had he survived as he did in the book, he would have been around 665 at the time period in The Philosopher's Stone

    Historians can't agree on whether or not he was actually an alchemist, but he had an extensive library with alchemical texts and may have spent time trying to decode a mysterious book filled with alchemical symbols. The Philosopher's Stone also comes from history and is sometimes referred to as "the tincture" and "the powder." Believers in Western Alchemy thought the stone had the power to transform base metals into precious metals like gold and silver and could yield the elixir of life, the key to immortality. 

  • The Death Eaters Attacks Are Reminiscent Of The Irish Republican Army (IRA) on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#3) The Death Eaters Attacks Are Reminiscent Of The Irish Republican Army (IRA)

    The Death Eaters are pure evil, but they're also extremely reminiscent of the IRA, a republican paramilitary organization that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland. The parallels are astounding when you consider the fact that Harry Potter takes place in the '90s - the same period that saw a number of terroristic incidents from various Irish paramilitaries before the IRA declared peace in 2005.

    The attacks the Death Eaters carry out on the Brockdale Bridge in The Half-Blood Prince coincide with the IRA's real-life bombings throughout 1996 (including the two bombings carried out by the IRA, one of which caused a partial bridge collapse in 1939).

  • The Salem Witch Trials Happened In The Harry Potter Canon, Too on Random Historical References In Harry Potter

    (#17) The Salem Witch Trials Happened In The Harry Potter Canon, Too

    The Salem Witch Trials are a notorious part of American history.  Between 1692 and 1693, over 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. Just 20 of these accused were executed and the colony eventually admitted it was a mistake, but the trials remain an infamous part of history. It is still referenced in pop culture today, including the Harry Potter series.

    JK Rowling brought in the idea of the Salem Witch Trials with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This part of the series took place in America and brushed over the discrimination witches and wizards received in the 17th century. However, Harry's copy of A History of Magic in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban does mention that one witch was burned over 47 times for alleged witchcraft, but used a Flame-Freezing Charm to evade death each time. 

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About This Tool

Harry Potter has a history of more than 20 years, and countless fans are addicted to that exciting magical world. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you may have read this series of novels many times and watched all 8 movies. You are sure that you know all the information about these books, know the name of each character and each plot. However, you will be surprised to find that there are still some historical references, myths, or legends hidden in the series.

Although this is a fictional magical world, many things, languages, or events are based on ancient history books, folklores. Here you could know 19 historical references in Harry Potter which you may never notice before.

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