- J.K. Rowling incorporates real-life legendary figures into the Harry Potter universe, adding depth and familiarity to the story.
- Characters like Angus Buchanan, Annis Black, Cassandra Trelawney, Nicholas Flamel, Morgan Le Fay, Merlin, and King Arthur all have parallels or resemblances to their real-life counterparts.
- The inclusion of these real-life legends helps readers to visualize and connect with the magical world of Harry Potter.
Writing a fantasy book requires a deep knowledge of mythology, legends, and lore, to make the story more lively and vibrant. J.K. Rowling seems to take note of these writing tips, as she seems to insert a lot of references to real-life legendary figures into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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Not only does she incorporate these figures, their stories are written in a way that aligns with its “muggles” version. Incorporating real-life legends into the Harry Potter universe, especially in a nonchalant, casual way, has definitely helped the readers visualize the story in the Harry Potter universe, as they are mostly familiar with such tales. Or maybe, these real-life legends are actually real, as real as the Wizarding World itself.
7 Angus Buchanan
A Legendary Squib
Squibs are severely mistreated in the magical community. Having squibs in the family has definitely brought shame to the point that they distanced themselves from magic and lived among muggles instead. An example of a squib who is very famous in the Wizarding World, as well as celebrated in the muggles world, is Angus Buchanan.
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Arabella Doreen Figg is a notable Squib in Harry Potter, and despite her limitations, she still makes her mark in the Wizarding World.
He was a rugby and cricket athlete who represented Scotland in international sports competitions in the late 19th century. After being disowned by his family, he found comfort among muggles who did not know his past or troubles as a misfit. In the Harry Potter world, he wrote a book titled My Life as a Squib.
6 Annis Black
The Feared Hag
Not only wizards, vampires, merpeople, werewolves, and many other mythologies exist within the magical world of Harry Potter, but hags are also a part of creatures that enrich the story. Hags, just like their real-life counterparts that exist in fairytales, are described as old witches with warts, four toes, and cannibal tendencies.
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A famous hag in the Harry Potter universe named Annis Black definitely shares a resemblance with the British legend of Black Annis, a hag that loves to consume children and hang their skin in her cave. In the Harry Potter version, Annis Black advocated for Hags Rights to the Daily Prophet, complaining that hags are severely misunderstood, as well as offering babysitting services.
5 Cassandra Trelawney
The Greek Seer
Cassandra Trelawney was a world-famous witch and seer and was the ancestor of Sybill Trelawney. She had a great gift for seeing the future, also called the Inner Eye. This ability is also passed down from her to her descendants, although it might skip a few generations. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess of Troy who was given a gift by Apollo to see the future, also called prophecy.
However, she is later cursed by him for not reciprocating his feelings, making her predictions to be rejected by everyone as no one believes her. Although Cassandra Trelawney and Cassandra the Princess of Troy’s stories are not 100% similar, they share a lot of similarities that make them parallel to each other.
4 Nicholas Flamel
The Celebrated Alchemist
In the magical community, Nicholas Flamel was a celebrated alchemist who was famous for his discovery of the Elixir of Life, which was produced from the Philosopher’s Stone. His story was very prominent in the first series of Harry Potter, making him serve as an introductory story for real-life figures that also exist in the Harry Potter universe later on.
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Nicolas Flamel plays a pivotal role in shaping the foundation of the Harry Potter Universe.
In the muggles version, Nicolas Flamel was more well-known as a French merchant whose fame as an alchemy only became widespread after his death. His and his wife’s legacy lives on as their names are commemorated as street names in Paris.
3 Morgan Le Fay
The Dark Witch
Also known as Morganca, was a Dark witch who lived during the medieval era, a half-sister of King Arthur and Merlin’s mortal enemy. As a talented animagus, she could transform into a bird and wreak havoc with her power. She also ruled the Island of Avalon, a dangerous witch who was fond of dueling, and a powerful healer.
Her real-life counterpart has several versions, as her depiction is orally spread in the form of folktales and the like. One version described her as King Arthus’s protector and wise elder sister, while other versions illustrated her as an antagonistic character who often preys on men.
The Greatest Wizard
Merlin’s story is definitely very fascinating and compelling. Not only is he famous in the muggles’ world, but he is also highly celebrated in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In both versions of his story, he stays true to his identity as a powerful wizard who is not easily defeated.
In the magical world, he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was also a part of the Slytherin House. Although he was a Slytherin, he fought hard for muggles’ rights, as he believed in equality and wizards and muggles should live in harmony. He was the figure behind the Order of Merlin, an organization that supports this cause. “Merlin’s Beard!” is also a famous saying in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
1 King Arthur
His Legacy Lives On
There will not be a story about Merlin if there is no King Arthur. Although it is not specified whether King Arthur is a wizard or just a regular human, in the Harry Potter universe, King Arthur’s legacy has definitely left a mark on the magical community.
It is well-known that Merlin served as King Arthur’s advisor, holding an important position as one of the knights of the Round Table. Many fans have also pointed out that the story of King Arthur shares a resemblance with Harry Potter, as both are guided by wise figures on their journeys. The use of the mythical sword is also another point of King Arthur’s influence in the Harry Potter universe.
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