Harry Potter: 10 Times JK Rowling Admitted To Changing Her Plans

Not everything arrived in her head fully formed. 

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Warner Bros.

JK Rowling is well-known for her meticulous plans, with one example being the hand-drawn grid that she made to map the activities of her principal characters for the 750+ pages of The Order Of The Phoenix.

As most readers will have no doubt heard, she has previously explained that the story of Harry Potter appeared to her on a train almost entirely fully formed. Additionally, Rowling spent around five years planning and preparing before even the first book was ready for publication.

Despite this, as can be expected, some elements in her intricate plans did not appear as she had originally laid out. While she has given only a relatively small number of interviews, those that she has taken part in have been very revealing and honest. Her thoughts on Pottermore are similarly enlightening.

Some characters died who might have lived, while others who were due to make it to the end found their fortunes change for the worst. One character who would most likely have died is Hagrid, but he survived everything thanks to one of her plans which she would not waver on: as he carried baby Harry to safety in his arms, so he must be alive to carry him from the Forbidden Forest in the later moments of the final book.

Most of JK Rowling's intentions remained iron-clad, with only tiny details, if any, being adjusted. A number, however, turned out quite differently.

10. Rewrites Of The Very First Chapter

Harry Potter Ron Weasley RIP

Famously, the first chapter of the first book of Harry Potter focuses on Vernon Dursley. It's rather different to the rest of the series. He wakes up and goes about his business, beginning to get hints of how his tightly controlled life is about to spiral out of control as he hears about odd weather formations, meets strangely dressed little men and notices more than one owl.

It will probably come as no surprise that JK Rowling wrote and rewrote her opening chapter. How could a seven-part story which took years to plan be easy to begin?

Many of the earlier drafts of the initial pages took place at Godric's Hollow with the death of the Potters. They included Sirius Black, not introduced in the final work until book three, and a character named Pyrites. This character, a prominent servant of Voldemort, whose name means 'fool's gold,' met with Black in front of the Potter house in some of the versions. Clearly, Rowling felt that too much was given away and saved even the vaguest explanation of what happened in Godric's Hollow until Hagrid's chat with Harry in Diagon Alley.

Some of the unused versions even apparently featured other characters that turned out to be very minimally explored in the final works - at least one featured Hermione Granger's parents as witnesses to the events of Voldemort confronting James and Lily Potter.


Reader, cinema lover, gamer, TV watcher. Teacher too. Years of caring too much (is that possible?) about Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek, WWE, Stephen King books, Game of Thrones and gaming will influence my writing.