If you are an avid fan of the Harry Potter novels (which we assume you are), chances are that you are clued in with the wizarding world’s complicated and sometimes surprising family trees. You know that Sirius was loosely related to Molly Weasley, and you know that the Potter family were connected to the Peverells, for example. But there are so many connected threads across the wizarding world to consider, and some quite unexpected. Such as…
It seems odd to think that one of the most evil wizards in recent wizarding world history was a nice old historian’s great nephew, but there you go! Gellert Grindelwald was sent to his great aunt Bathilda Bagshot’s home in Godric’s Hollow after he was expelled from the Durmstrang Institute, which was how he met Albus Dumbledore for the very first time. Despite his many flaws (wanting to take over the wizarding world, for example), Bathilda clearly had a soft spot in her heart for her great nephew, and even had his photo in a frame at her home decades after he was defeated by Dumbledore and put into prison.
It was a bit of a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment in the books when you realise that Molly was actually the sister of Gideon and Fabian Prewett. The pair are mentioned very briefly throughout the novels as members of the original Order of the Phoenix who fought ‘like heroes’ against five Death Eaters. It was also revealed briefly that Dolohov was sent to Azkaban for their ‘brutal’ murders. However, Molly only mentioned her relationship to Fabian just once, when she gave Harry her brother’s old watch for his birthday. It is also worth mentioning that, although none of her children were named after the pair, the twins Fred and George have the same first initials.
‘It’s traditional to give a wizard a watch when he comes of age,’ said Mrs Weasley, watching him anxiously from beside the cooker. ‘I’m afraid that one isn’t new like Ron’s, it was actually my brother Fabian’s and he wasn’t terribly careful with his possessions, it’s a bit dented on the back, but –’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The shared surname might be a bit of a giveaway, but since this connection stretches between Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – we thought we’d point it out. While Dumbledore’s Army member Anthony was a Ravenclaw, his relatives, Porpentina and Queenie, didn’t go to Hogwarts, and instead attended Ilvermorny.
J.K. Rowling hinted that the characters belonged to the same family in a tweet, which read: ‘Well, I think it’s widely known that that characters of (Porpen)tina and Queenie are sisters, but not that their surname is Goldstein.’ She then said their relationship to Anthony was ‘distant’.
Since Neville Longbottom revealed that he was 'mad for' Luna in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011), film fans might be surprised to learn that Luna didn’t actually end up with Neville but with Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newt. Although we never got to meet Rolf in the books, Evanna Lynch revealed at the Oz Comic-Con in 2015 that J.K. Rowling almost had him explain ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ to Harry, Ron and Hermione instead of Xenophilius.
In summary, Luna’s marriage to Rolf made her Newt’s granddaughter-in-law: awww!
Since both were descended from the Peverell brothers (original owners of the Deathly Hallows), it’s true that the two mortal enemies were in fact related to one another – albeit very distantly. Harry was related to Ignotus, who passed his Invisibility Cloak on to his son, who then had a daughter, Iolanthe Peverell, who married Hardwin Potter. The cloak was then passed down to each firstborn Potter before it was given to Henry Potter, Harry’s great-grandfather. J.K. Rowling spoke about Harry and Voldemort’s link at a Bloomsbury Live Chat in 2007, saying: ‘Yes, Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through the Peverells. Of course, nearly all wizarding families are related if you trace them back through the centuries. As was made clear in Deathly Hallows, Peverell blood would run through many wizarding families.’
There may well be more links that will surprise us in the future, since the wizarding world is so small that almost every family has some sort of connection to one another. But it also shows just how different these witches and wizards can be, even when coming from the same family.