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5 things we learned from J.K. Rowling in the latest Pottermore update

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To celebrate Dudley Dursley’s birthday, J.K. Rowling has released new information about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Pottermore. We rounded up five of the most interesting new revelations, from how Hagrid and Dumbledore got their names to which house Professor McGonagall was almost sorted into.

1. The first meeting of the newly-engaged Petunia Evans and Vernon Dursley and Lily Evans and her boyfriend James Potter was pretty rough: 

Petunia confessed to Vernon that her sister, Lily, was a witch. Though he vowed not to hold it against her that her sister was a “freak,” the first meeting of the two couples couldn’t have been more disastrous as James was “amused” by Vernon, while Vernon belittled James. The relationship never improved after that. 

2. Vernon Dursley disliked Harry for the same reason as Snape: 

J.K. Rowling explained that Vernon grew to dislike Harry because of how much he looked like his father, James. Petunia, on the other hand, felt guilty about how she treated her sister, and she took this out on Harry.

3. Hermione’s extendable handbag was highly illegal:

Hermione may have performed an Extension Charm on her bag to carry all of her supplies while she, Harry, and Ron went hunting for Horcruxes, but Extension Charms are highly regulated by the Ministry of Magic because of their potential to be abused. Still, Hermione never faced any charges, as it was ruled that the charm “played no insignificant part in the defeat of the greatest Dark wizard of all time.”

4. Rubeus Hagrid and Albus Dumbledore represent the two sides of human nature:

Rowling writes that the names Rubeus and Albus are derived from red and white, two colors that are traditionally associated with alchemy. Alchemy is the magical theory that base metals can be turned into gold. (Nicolas Flamel studied alchemy, and he created the Philosopher’s Stone, which could turn metals into gold and grant eternal life.) Hagrid represents the red base metal, which is associated with warmth and wildness, while Dumbledore is more in line with gold and the color white, which is impressive and intellectual, but can also be detached.

5. Minerva McGonagall and Peter Pettigrew are two of the only Hogwarts students whose Sorting took more than five minutes:

Both McGonagall and Pettigrew were Hatstalls, which is the name for any student who the Sorting Hat takes more than five minutes to sort into a house. The hat deliberated for five and a half minutes over whether to place McGonagall in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, and it wavered over whether Pettigrew belonged in Gryffindor or Slytherin. There weren’t any Hatstalls in Harry Potter’s generation, but Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom came the closest. (Hermione was almost in Ravenclaw, and Neville begged to be placed in Hufflepuff because he was afraid he wasn’t brave enough for Gryffindor.)

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