The Harry Potter films are full of magic. The cinematic retelling of the classic book series involves all of your favorite characters, locales, spells, and a few other surprises. Hidden among the crazy things happening on-screen are plenty of secret little moments and easter eggs that you probably never noticed before. There’s plenty of foreshadowing and little fun tidbits sprinkled throughout the films!
We get it, not everything from the books can be thrown into the films. It’s also hard to capture the foreshadowing turns of phrase from the books or the subtle little moments you only pick up on during the 100th reread. But it’s still possible to throw in a few winks and nods towards fans in the films! J.K. Rowling herself was heavily involved in the making of the film series so she definitely didn’t do these things without Potterheads in mind. They may just be little moments here and there, but we’re totally fascinated by the hidden magic of these Harry Potter easter eggs!
In the very first film, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, there is foreshadowing before Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) even finds out he’s a wizard! When the Dursley’s take Harry along (reluctantly) for a day at the local reptile house, they get more than they bargained for when a snake gets loose. Before Harry dabbles in unintentional magic and talks to a snake in the house, we see a group in school uniforms wearing green jackets with patches on them. The uniforms are our first hint at Slytherin, one of the four houses at Hogwarts and the one that has deep ties to snakes. Before Harry hears the iconic line “you’re a wizard, Harry!” fans get a bit of a hint at what’s to come!
In the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, fans are introduced to the Maurader’s Map. The map, later revealed to have been created by Harry’s father and his schoolmates, will show you anyone in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts at any time with the simple phrase “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” At one point, we can see all of the friends listed on the front of the map by their nicknames in a specific order: Mooney (Remus Lupin), Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew), Padfoot (Sirius Black), and Prongs (James Potter). The easter egg here is that *spoiler alert* these four men die in the exact reverse order of how they’re listed. Whether or not this was intentional foreshadowing is unclear but it’s a fun little thing fans have picked up on.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, fans get a stealthy little glimpse of Daniel Radcliffe’s real life! In a scene in a cafe when Harry and his friends are on the run, you can see an Equus poster hung in the background. The poster is only in the scene for a split second but advertises the play Radcliffe starred in towards the end of his Potter tenure. It’s also notable for Radcliffe’s full-frontal nudity — totally opposite from his family-friendly role in the Harry Potter films!
There’s more than a few easter eggs sprinkled through the Marauder’s Map! Newt Scamander, as many may know, is the author behind the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Oh, and you can catch the character in his own film series by the same name! But before his own film franchise launched he was popping up in the Harry Potter films on the Marauder’s Map, meaning he was hanging out at Hogwarts during Harry’s time at school. We totally wish these two could have met considering Newt’s crazy past!
Book readers will know this, but if you haven’t read the books (blasphemous!) then the relation between Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione’s (Emma Watson) Patronuses is actually hinted at on-screen. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry begins teaching his classmates Defense Against the Dark Arts on the low, and one of the spells is the the Patronus spell. During the practice, we see Hermione’s Patronus, an otter, and Ron’s, a Jack Russell Terrier. This may take a little bit of animal knowledge to understand, but Jack Russell Terriers are known for their love of chasing otters! As we all know, Ron and Hermione are ~meant to be~ so this was total foreshadowing at their eventual happy ending!
Chocolate frogs are just candy... so then why can they move like real frogs?! Ron tells Harry during their first trip on the Hogwarts Express in the books that it’s just a spell. But we have so many questions about what happens to them after they spring away when opened! Because in the first film, Harry opens one and it jumps out the window of the train. Buh-bye! There is a small Harry Potter easter egg payoff here seven films later in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 when the generation is heading the Hogwarts and the frog reappears. That’s a long lifespan for a spell-animated frog!
Rowling has mentioned countless times how important the number seven is to the series. Seven books, seven Horcruxes, seven years at Hogwarts. The number seven is everywhere and it turns out it’s in one place you may not have noticed: on Harry’s Quidditch jersey! His number in the sport is seven, which not only references the important number but could be seen as some foreshadowing as Harry is the seventh Horcrux. Either way, it’s a fun little nod at a digit so integral to the series.
The Marauder’s Map shows everything. Even two students probably getting a little frisky in an abandoned stairwell! During the end credits of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we get more glimpses at the Marauder’s Map. One of those glimpses shows two pairs of feet facing each other and not moving. It basically looks like two people who may be making out (or more, tbh) in a quiet corner! This kind of makes sense, considering all the teens and pre-teens coming of age at Hogwarts and discovering the magic within them. Why not discover the magic within your peers too?!
The Deathly Hallows symbol pops up quite a few times over the course of the films starting with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. When we see Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) approaching his cabinet of trinkets we see a bar, a pyramid, and a ball suspended behind the glass that together looks eerily like the Deathly Hallows. Considering Dumbledore’s obsession with the ancient Hallows, it would make sense that he would have reminders of them on his shelves. Plus, this totally proves Rowling has had the entire plot of the books mapped out since the beginning considering the last book — which reveals what the Hallows are — wasn’t even written yet when this film came out!
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore invited Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson) to sit with him and 12 others and she is not having it. She says, “I dare not, Headmaster! If I join the table, we shall be 13! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when 13 dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!” Well, maybe she wasn’t just being batty per usual! Later on, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 13 are dining together and the first to rise does die: Sirius (Gary Oldman). By the end of the film, he is dead, and the first of those dining at the table to pass away. Maybe Trelawney was actually on to something there!
This one will make your heart ache a bit! In Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, Harry first encounters the curmudgeonly Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) in potions class. The first thing Snape says to the young student is, “Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Apparently, if you really read between the lines there and use the Victorian language for flowers, the questions can be translated to “I bitterly regret Lily’s death.” Heavy! Was Snape trying to let the young boy know right from the jump how much he loved his mom? Likely no, considering Snape hated Harry. But it is a fun little easter egg thrown in for fans' sake!
Here’s another bit of Trelawney accidentally being a good seer! In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, she says to Harry that his birthday is midwinter, but that’s just false. He was born at the end of July — something not only reiterated many times in the books but also super important to the prophecy about him. But you know who was born midwinter? Yep, you guessed it, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) was! Trelawney may have been picking up on Voldy’s energy through Harry since, as we learn eventually, part of his soul is attached within Harry. It seems Trelawney kind of actually knew what she was doing — when she wasn’t trying that hard at least!
More unintentional psychic work done in Trelawney’s classroom! This time it was from Ron and Harry. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the two have to make predictions for their divination homework. Being the slacker students they are (and being totally uninterested in divination), they make a bunch of stuff up. Ron predicts that Harry will be “in danger of burn” and will “lose a treasured possession.” To top it all off he says Harry will get “stabbed in the back”! Rough year for Harry, huh? Well, pretty much every one of these things happens to Harry over the course of the Triwizard Tournament in the film. Way to predict the worst things possible, Ron!
Dumbledore himself was a student at Hogwarts many moons ago before he became headmaster. It just so happens that he was sorted into the same house as Harry: Gryffindor. He actually pays homage to the house on the door to his office. If you look closely you’ll see that the gilded door is adorned with a giant Griffin. A Griffin... on a door. Get it?! We’re sure he probably shouldn’t be favoring one house over the rest, but he’s Dumbledore — he can do what he wants. Plus, it’s totally up his alley to have a pun-friendly easter egg on his door!
Neville (Matthew Lewis) hasn’t always had the easiest time in his classes. Things were a bit rough for him in basically every class, even herbology in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a class he later went on to master. But as the films progress, we learn that Neville isn’t hopeless — he’s totally meant to be a herbologist! It seems that his name may have been alluding to that all along! It may also be a reference to another popular fantasy franchise — Lord of the Rings. In that series, “Longbottom” is an area known for fruitful vegetation. Sounds like somewhere a herbologist would be right at home!
Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) is a bit of an annoying figure in Hogwarts, but she’s also quite tragic. The ghostly girl haunts the ladies bathroom in Hogwarts and, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ron comes face-to-face with her in the washroom. What happens next is a frustrating culmination of things that happen when you don’t have all the info (well, frustrating for fans looking back and knowing what this all means!). Ron had just learned about Tom Riddle and how he won an award at Hogwarts. Without knowing Tom is actually Voldemort quite yet, he mentions that maybe Tom won the award for killing bothersome Myrtle. His joke, darkly enough, is half-true. Tom is the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets while Myrtle was at school and her death came as the result of the basilisk within being released.