From Snitches to motorbikes to snakes on the loose – the first film is crammed full of magical things that didn’t seem particularly important when we first encountered them. However, some of these things proved to be very significant indeed…
When we first met Neville Longbottom, it was quite hard to believe that he would have had the courage to stand up for himself. Insecure and lacking in confidence, you’d think he would have wanted to fade into the background and not draw attention to himself. Nevertheless, towards the end of the first film he tried to stop Harry, Ron and Hermione from sneaking out of the common room to stop them from breaking any more rules. Unfortunately for Neville, Hermione puts a full Body-Bind Curse on him, and they head out anyway. Yet that moment of bravery was the first glimpse of the wizard Neville turned out to be. In the final film, he summons that same strength and stands up to none other than Voldemort himself.
Harry’s first Quidditch match ended in victory but not before he almost swallowed the Snitch – we guess that’s one way to catch it. Little did he, or we, know how important that small golden ball would become. When Dumbledore died, Harry was left the Snitch in his will. It turned out that Snitches have a flesh memory and remember the touch of the first person to handle them. In this case, that was Harry. When he put it to his lips it revealed the message ‘I open at the close’. Sure enough, when Harry went to the Forbidden Forest to meet Voldemort in the final film, he raised the Snitch to his lips and whispered, ‘I am about to die’. The Snitch fell open revealing the Resurrection Stone, one of the three Deathly Hallows. Harry was then able to make that terrifying walk to meet Voldemort in the clearing surrounded by those he had loved and lost.
When Harry’s parents were killed, he was brought to live with the Dursleys. As his only relatives, it made some sense that Dumbledore would have taken him there. Yet Harry was clearly mistreated by this uptight family and spent ten miserable years in their company before escaping to Hogwarts. Still, there was a deeper meaning behind Dumbledore’s decision to place him there – which we discovered later on.
When Lily sacrificed her life to save her son, it invoked an ancient magic – giving Harry a protection that flowed through his veins. Dumbledore being the wise wizard that he was, realised that Voldemort would probably make his return. So, he put his trust in Lily’s blood and left Harry with Petunia, Lily’s last remaining blood relative. The moment Petunia reluctantly took Harry in, she sealed the Charm. While Harry could still call Privet Drive his home, he could not be touched or harmed by Voldemort. Lily’s blood and protection lived on and would last until he came of age.
In Philosopher’s Stone Ron’s hand-me-down rat seemed to be a rather boring pet. All he did was sleep and refused to be turned yellow (though that might have been the spell). But in Prisoner of Azkaban, we learnt that this dull and uninspiring rat was actually the weak, selfish and treacherous Peter Pettigrew. He was the one that told Voldemort where Harry’s parents were. He was the one that framed Sirius Black. And he was the one that helped bring Voldemort back to power in Goblet of Fire. Who would have thought a rodent would have such a significant role in the story?
On Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts, he receives his famous Invisibility Cloak – which had once belonged to his father. While it was clearly a very cool present, not to mention incredibly useful for sneaking around when breaking school rules, it wasn’t until much later on that we learnt just how valuable this object actually was. It turned out that Harry’s cloak was one of the three Deathly Hallows which made it one of a kind. We doubt Harry would have treated it quite so casually if he had known it’s true significance…
When Harry is brought to Privet Drive from Godric’s Hollow as a baby, it is on the back of a flying motorbike ridden by Rubeus Hagrid. There is so much going on at that moment you’d be forgiven for not paying much attention to that magical mode of transportation which belonged to someone called Sirius Black. However, not only does the bike reappear in Deathly Hallows, as the way that Harry leaves the Dursleys for the final time, but Sirius Black turns out to be an incredibly important character. He was one of James Potter’s closest friends, Harry’s godfather, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and one of the authors of the very important Marauder’s Map.
At the start of the first movie, Harry and the Dursleys take a trip to the zoo to celebrate Dudley’s birthday. During that visit, Harry finds himself in conversation with a snake that he accidentally manages to set free. While we hope that friendly snake managed to slither away and live a happy life out of captivity, it did reveal an important plot point that wasn’t acknowledged until Chamber of Secrets. Harry could talk to snakes – and that wasn’t a common magical ability.
As he soon found out, the ability to speak Parseltongue was something that was often treated with suspicion by the wizarding community. Other famous Parselmouths included Lord Voldemort and Salazar Slytherin – and many considered it to be a sign of a Dark wizard. Though as we discovered in Deathly Hallows, the only reason Harry had this ability was because he was an accidental Horcrux bound to Voldemort. Once the piece of Voldemort’s soul that lived in Harry was destroyed, he found he could no longer talk to his serpent friends.