Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published 20 years ago today. 

To celebrate, here are some magical facts about the books and the films you may not have already known.

1. Harry Potter and author J.K. Rowling have the same birthday

The pair both blow out their candles on July 31.

2. Arthur Weasley almost died

When he’s bitten by Nagini, Voldemort’s snake, Rowling almost killed him off. Thankfully, though, she decided against it, as she considered Arthur one of the only decent father figures in the books.

3. The Deathly Hallows had some cool nicknames

To avoid leaks prior to publication, the book’s publisher used nicknames such as Edinburgh Potmakers and The Life and Times of Clara Rose Lovett: An Epic Novel Covering Many Generations to protect the final volume.

4. Alan Rickman knew of Snape’s motivations pretty early on

Rickman was told of Snape’s love for Lily pretty early on, which resulted in him questioning (jokingly) a lot of Rowling’s decisions.

5. Buckbeak was animatronic

At least for the close-ups, anyway. Many of the creatures in the Harry Potter films had at the very least mock models made up to make life easier for the effects teams – including the Jack in the Box from the Boggart scene in Prisoner of Azkaban.

6. Hogwarts’ motto is quite the doozy

Draco Dormiens Numquam Titillandus is Latin for “Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.”

7. Tom Felton didn’t audition for Malfoy

He actually auditioned for both Harry and Ron before landing the role of Draco ‘Daddy’s Boy’ Malfoy.

8. Felton was also quite the troublemaker on set

His robe pockets in Prisoner of Azkaban had to be sewn shut on set because he kept trying to sneak food in.

9. The ‘theme’ for the films was composed by John Williams

10. Harry Potter and Dudley Dursley stayed ‘friends’

Following the events of The Battle of Hogwarts, Harry stayed friendly with his cousin Dudley, but only enough so that their children could still see each other.

11. The Deathly Hallows had a real-life inspiration

The Tale of the Three Brothers from The Tales of Beedle the Bard was actually inspired by an excerpt from the late poet Geoffrey Chaucer – The Pardoner’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales.

12. Bill Weasley and Mad-Eye Moody are related

Well, kinda. Domhnall Gleeson (who plays Bill) is Brendan Gleeson’s (Moody’s) son.

13. The schoolwork scenes were more legit than you thought

When filming scenes depicting Harry, Ron, and Hermione doing any schoolwork, it was often actual work they needed to do for their classes – the stress was very real.

14. Fred and George Weasley have a great birthday

April 1 – who’d have guessed?

15. Minerva McGonagall was a Quidditch player

And quite the talented one, too. That was until, in her final year at Hogwarts, she suffered a nasty fall and broke a few ribs.

16. Harry, Ron and Hermione became celebrities

The trio got their own Chocolate Frog Cards. Aww.

17. Stephen King loves Professor Umbridge

The prolific author called the Ministry of Magic employee ‘the best fictional villain since Hannibal Lecter.’

18. Luna Lovegood married Newt Scamander’s grandson

Luna Lovegood winds up marrying Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

19. The meaning behind Morsmordre

You hear David Tennant’s Barty Crouch Jr. utter it in The Goblet of Fire to summon Voldemort’s Dark Mark – turns out it’s French for ‘take a bite out of death.’

20. Daniel Radcliffe broke stuff – a lot

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe broke around 80 wands over the 8 films, mostly because he liked using them as drumsticks.

Discover the magic for yourself at JB Hi-Fi