20 Hidden Details About The Harry Potter Villains That Should’ve Been Kept In The Chamber Of Secrets

If you haven’t heard of the Harry Potter franchise, you’ve surely been living in the Chamber of Secrets. JK Rowling’s characters are so well-known that they’re practically cultural icons. The villains are particularly memorable, but do you know everything about them? Here are 20 subtle details that might well have disapparated past you.

20. Lucius Malfoy’s Trial

We all know that the creep-tacular Lucius Malfoy belongs in Azkaban Prison at the Dementor’s mercy – or lack thereof. But did you know there’s a hidden detail in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince revealing that Malfoy did time there? It isn’t on screen for long and if you blink you’ll miss it, but it’s definitely there.

During the subway sequence at the start of the movie, pause the film and check out Harry’s newspaper. One of the pieces reports how the Ministry of Magic handed Malfoy senior a sentence in Azkaban. Unfortunately for all involved, though, the bulletin also details the crafty snake’s subsequent escape. You just can’t keep a bad guy down.

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19. Umbridge’s Subtle Skulls

Voldemort has the biggest bad guy rep, but fans have a special dislike for Harry’s torturous teacher, Dolores Umbridge. With her sing-song voice and pastel clothing, she’s all smiles and good manners. Until she forces Mr. Potter to carve words into his own skin, of course. Her clothes contain a tiny detail that hints at her true nature, though.

Pay very close attention to Umbridge’s bright clothes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. See how her cuffs and bows have decorative emblems? Well, look a little closer. They’re small skulls that have diamonds set into their eye sockets. Just when you thought she couldn’t get any more creepy…

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18. Hermione’s Haymaker

Before his redemption arc, Draco Malfoy is the worst. Not only is he a terrible person but also a terrible bully to Harry and his friends. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so satisfying when Hermione lets loose and punches him straight in the face. The other reason is Malfoy’s reaction.

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Well, it turns out that you just can’t fabricate that kind of response. For their scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the actor who plays Malfoy, Tom Felton, told Emma Watson (Hermione) to “fake slap” him. But she accidentally hit him with a full-on strike instead, and Felton’s reaction is completely genuine.

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17. He Who Must Not Be Named

Any Potter fan worth their salt can tell you that wizards fear the name Voldemort. From the instant Harry learns about the big bad in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, that’s made clear. Most wizards – with the exception of Death Eaters, Harry and the eminent Albus Dumbledore – refer to the dark lord as “He Who Must Not Be Named.”

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The first Harry Potter movie tips its Sorting Hat to the subject when the credits roll. Instead of being cited as playing Lord Voldemort, Richard Bremmer – the original actor in the role – was credited as “He Who Must Not Be Named.” Incidentally, JK Rowling has stated on Twitter that the “t” in Voldemort is silent. But if you can’t say his name then it’s a moot point, right?

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16. Applauding Death Eater

No one can claim that Death Eaters are a friendly bunch. The name kind of gives their game away. But there are apparently some among the faction who are more enthusiastic than others. Take the graveyard scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example, which is creepy enough as it is.

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First Harry Potter’s rival Cedric Diggory is killed, then Peter Pettigrew severs his hand to resurrect Voldemort. And things go from bad to worse when the Dark Lord returns for a round of “torture Harry Potter.” Wormtail wasn’t the only one giving Voldemort a hand, though. A Death Eater merrily applauds their master during the sadistic show like they’ve got front row seats for Hamilton.

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15. Umbridge’s Growing Power

Umbridge loves bright colors. It’s one of the things that separates her visually from the other Harry Potter villains. They often prefer to skulk around in black robes while she swans about in twee, bow-decorated shades of pink. Yet Umbridge’s wardrobe changes ever so slightly for her subsequent appearances in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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The Warner Bros Studio Tour reveals that this was a calculated decision to mimic Umbridge’s rise to power. She starts out wearing bright pastel pinks, but they darken as the movie goes on. Not only does this coincide with the darker tone of the film, but also with Umbridge’s escalating authority.

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14. Quirky Barty Crouch Jr.

It’s hard to forget David Tennant’s excellent performance as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He brought the character to life with an eerie, lip-licking quirk reminiscent of a lizard… or a snake. And this tic actually has a key role in a nifty bit of foreshadowing that you may have missed.

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Barty Crouch Jr. has a conversation with his father while disguised as Hogwarts professor Mad-Eye Moody. During this exchange, Crouch Sr. is seemingly shocked when his son is referenced. But it isn’t the subject that shakes him. Crouch Sr.’s reacting to Crouch Jr.’s tell-tale tic, which even a Polyjuice Potion can’t conceal.

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13. Prepared Death Eater

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 shows the wizarding world in chaos. Voldemort’s risen again, Harry and friends are on the run and Death Eaters are slithering all over the place. And if you watch carefully, you can detect subtle body language from the pair that ambush Harry’s team in the cafe.

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One of the “workers” has a wand sticking out of their pocket. This mightn’t be unusual in the wizarding world, though. So what about when the other one gently pats their leg to make sure their wand’s in place? Even before Harry notices their suspicious behavior, the Death Eaters have hands on their wands. And in public, too!

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12. Voldemort’s Fading Robes

Let’s face it, Voldemort doesn’t look like the kind of snake man who worries about his laundry. Maybe he should, though, considering the films use his wardrobe as a visual aid. If you pay attention to You-Know-Who’s robes, they go through some changes, especially in the last few films. Harry and friends are responsible for that.

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Voldemort intentionally split his soul into seven different vessels – including his own body – called Horcruxes. And every time Harry’s group eradicates one, the villain becomes weaker. To represent this visually, the film team wanted to indicate Voldemort was fading away, so they made his clothes a shade lighter whenever a Horcrux had been dealt with. That must be terrible for someone calling himself the Dark Lord.

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11. Nagini’s Reflection

Voldemort is proof that even horrific human-snake monsters with genocidal tendencies love their pets. Nagini is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s giant snake and – spoilers ahead – also a Horcrux. Part of Voldemort’s soul is inside his scale-baby, which probably explains his fondness for her (yes, she used to be a person). And there’s a hidden Nagini in one of the films.

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It’s easy to miss, so well done if you’ve already spotted it. But if you haven’t, check out the Warner logo at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The metallic emblem reflects a slithering shape, all scales and malice. That’s Nagini, probably looking for another person to eat.

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10. Horcrux Foreshadowing

It’s fair to say that Tom Riddle – the boy who’d later become Voldemort – was a bit obsessive. He had a thing against muggles (non-magical people, for the uninitiated) and was fascinated by cheating death. You can even see evidence of Tom’s Horcrux obsession in one of the film’s flashbacks.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives us more insight into Tom’s past. And we even get to see the bedroom he stayed in as a kid. But perhaps the most understated – and important – feature in the scene is the collection of stones sitting on the windowsill. There are seven of them, hinting at the seven Horcruxes that Voldemort will one day create.

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9. Grindelwald’s Name-Drop

Thanks in part to the Fantastic Beasts movies, Potter fans are seeing Gellert Grindelwald in a new light. That dark wizard had his fingers in a lot of pies when it comes to the wizarding world’s history. And it turns out that his presence was established way back in the debut Harry Potter novel.

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Harry and his friends collect trading cards depicting the most famous wizards and witches of all time. A card featuring Albus Dumbeldore and his illustrious history is among Harry’s personal collection. And the description mentions an epic duel Dumbledore had with a dark wizard: Grindelwald.

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8. Tom Riddle’s Hogwarts Award

Considering how he became a mass-murdering psychopath, Voldemort has a lot to answer for. Even as a child he performed some unspeakable acts that left psychological scars on his fellow orphans. By the time he reached Hogwarts, though, Tom Riddle had learnt to conceal his dark impulses. Hogwarts staff noted and even rewarded his good behavior.

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According to Tom himself, teachers and students saw him as “a school prefect, a model student.” But don’t take his word for it – there’s proof in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After being handed a stint in detention, Ron was tasked with tidying up the Hogwarts trophy chamber. And it appears they kept Tom’s shield for “special services” on show.

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7. Bellatrix’s One Fear

Bellatrix Lestrange earned the loathing of the Potter fan-base when she murdered a couple of much-cherished characters: Sirius Black and Dobby. She’s insane, fights like a caged animal and fears nothing. Or does she? There’s actually one person in The Order of the Phoenix she’s not crazy enough to fight, and with good reason.

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Just like her beloved Voldemort, Bellatrix knows that Albus Dumbledore would beat her six ways from Sunday. So in The Order of the Phoenix, instead of fighting the Hogwarts headmaster, Bellatrix turns tail and runs. But she and Voldemort are at least the only characters able to deflect Dumbledore’s magic at times.

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6. Voldemort’s Family Issues

Voldemort was obsessed with blood purity and believed in keeping things – such as marriage and breeding – in the family. And that, good readers, is how you end up with a snake face. But he still had family issues and hated one of his distant relatives most of all. Can you guess who it is?

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Think about it: the Peverells, who owned the Deathly Hallows, handed their treasures down through the generations. Cadmus Peverell’s Resurrection Stone eventually went to his offspring – the Gaunts – and Voldemort. Ignotus Peverell’s granddaughter Iolanthe Peverell inherited the Cloak of Invisibility. She then wed Hardwin Potter and the Cloak went with her – ultimately, to Harry. That’s right – Harry’s Voldemort’s distant cousin.

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5. Merope Gaunt’s Unrequited Love

Voldemort’s mom, Merope Gaunt, started out in life suffering abuse and it followed her into adulthood. She actually used her magical skills to bewitch her future husband, Tom Riddle senior. It didn’t end well, though. When Merope lifted the bewitchment, Riddle left and she ended up dying shortly after Tom Riddle Jr. was born.

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And some fans have theorized that Voldemort couldn’t understand love because he was born from a magical coercion. But that isn’t the case, as Rowling explained during a web-chat on The Leaky Cauldron in 2007. “Everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised [Voldemort] herself and loved him,” she revealed.

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4. Aragog’s a nightmare

When it comes to creepy critters in the Harry Potter universe, Aragog is likely high on your list. A massive spider living in a forest with an army of car-sized spawn is an arachnophobe’s worse nightmare. By the sound of it, though, he was just as nightmarish behind the scenes, albeit for different reasons.

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The movie team made a massive Aragog model prop for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And to get that terrible tarantula look just right, they used coconuts for the creature’s hair. But Aragog was so big that it took at least seven operators to shift it for the scenes!

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3. The Battle of Hogwarts

The odds were stacked against Harry and his friends from the start. Even in their first year at Hogwarts, Dementors, werewolves, giant spiders and trolls were flinging themselves at the group. They managed to win, of course, because that’s what heroes do. But it’s easy to forget how many trials they’d overcome by the end of the series.

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So the producers came up with an ingenious way of reminding viewers how much the Potter team had progressed. During the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, all of these enemies face our heroes. This time, though, the trio dispense with the monsters with a minimum of effort. Our babies are all grown up!

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2. Lucius Malfoy’s Tattoo

The Harry Potter films don’t cover Lucius Malfoy’s antics in Azkaban directly, but it’s clearly been taken into consideration. We’ve already covered how he was sent to – and escaped from – the most feared prison in the wizarding world. And there’s also evidence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 that he didn’t get out unscathed.

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The next time you see Malfoy following his arrest, he looks rough. But there’s an even more subtle clue to his time spent in magical jail. If you watch carefully, you can catch a glimpse of a number tattooed on the older Malfoy’s neck. That’s his prisoner number, and a keepsake from his days in Azkaban.

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1. To the Core

It’s obvious from the start that there’s a connection between Harry and Voldemort. They share a psychic link and both speak the snake language Parseltongue, for starters. But when Harry chooses his wand at Ollivander’s – or rather when the wand chooses him – the shop owner’s intrigued. Wands with phoenix cores called out to both Harry and Tom Riddle.

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There was one difference between the wizard’s wands, though: the type of wood. You have to dig into the mythology a bit to find the relevance, but it’s there. Harry’s wand was a holly base, which is thought to protect against evil. Voldemort’s wand, on the other hand, was made from yew and contains a toxic resin.

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