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Pottermore Update Sheds Light on Harry’s Family Origins

The highly anticipated relaunch for the Harry Potter series site Pottermore.com started off with a bang, as a new post by J.K. Rowling brought some revelatory info about everyone’s favorite wizarding family. In addition to news, quizzes, and a logo that would make the Daily Prophet blush, Rowling gave us a closer look at the Potter family tree.

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The post, titled “The Potter Family,” tells a story about the eponymous family’s lineage. The Potter family tree dates all the way back to the 12th century, with some seemingly mundane origins. Rowling writes:

Linfred of Stinchcombe, a locally well-beloved and eccentric man, whose nickname, ‘the Potterer’, became corrupted in time to ‘Potter’. Linfred was a vague and absent-minded fellow whose Muggle neighbours often called upon his medicinal services. None of them realised that Linfred’s wonderful cures for pox and ague were magical; they all thought him a harmless and lovable old chap, pottering about in his garden with all his funny plants.

The tale of the Potters even gets political, as Linfred’s descendants Ralston and Henry became involved in the Wizengamot, wizarding Britain’s high court of law. With this platform, they were able to express their opinions on how the Ministry of Magic handled affairs in the muggle world:

Occasionally, a Potter made it all the way to London, and a member of the family has twice sat on the Wizengamot: Ralston Potter, who was a member from 1612-1652, and who was a great supporter of the Statute of Secrecy (as opposed to declaring war on the Muggles, as more militant members wished to do) and Henry Potter (Harry to his intimates), who was a direct descendant of Hardwin and Iolanthe, and served on the Wizengamot from 1913 – 1921. Henry caused a minor stir when he publicly condemned then Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, who had forbidden the magical community to help Muggles waging the First World War.

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Further down the family line, Harry’s grandparents, Fleamont and Euphemia Potter, have a particularly fascinating story. Their tale of wealth, desperation, and miracles could be a post in and of itself:

 It was Fleamont who took the family gold and quadrupled it, by creating magical Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion ( ‘two drops tames even the most bothersome barnet’ ). He sold the company at a vast profit when he retired, but no amount of riches could compensate him or his wife Euphemia for their childlessness. They had quite given up hope of a son or daughter when, to their shock and surprise, Euphemia found that she was pregnant and their beloved boy, James, was born.

You may recall that Hermione Granger used Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion for her Yule Ball do in The Goblet of Fire. We now know that she has Harry’s family to thank for that!

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Read the full piece for a closer look at how the Potter family developed the traditions and character that we know from the books and movies. We’ll be sure to give you any further updates on new writing from Rowling about Potter lore. 

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