One of the biggest reasons the Harry Potter series is so popular and has such a lasting impact is how well J.K. Rowling built the wizarding world. It feels full and complete and works beyond the confines of Harry's story. We meet a lot of characters throughout Harry's first seven years in the Wizarding World but we only really get to know a select few.
When re-reading the series it occurred to me that there are quite a few tertiary characters who have interesting backstories who are only alluded to because the story, quite rightly, focuses on Harry Potter. There are many characters that I'd love to know more about, but here are 10, in particular, I wish Rowling had given us a chance to know better.
Dean Thomas is another Gryffindor from Harry Potter’s year and one of the very few explicit characters of color we meet in the series, though he is not explicitly Black in the British version of the Philosopher's Stone. After Voldemort returns to power, Dean does not return to Hogwarts in his seventh year because he believes he is Muggle-born. We learned after the end of the original series that Dean is not actually Muggle-born, as his father was a wizard who died at the hands of Death Eaters during Voldemort’s first reign of terror.
Rowling wrote on her original website that she actually had envisioned Dean to be a much bigger character but, unfortunately for us, had to edit out the majority of his story.
When Harry first meets Andromeda Tonks he almost curses her because she so closely resembles her sister Bellatrix Lestrange.
Like her cousin Sirius Black, Andromeda was disowned by the prejudiced Black family after she decided to marry Muggle-born Ted Tonks. That alone makes me want to learn more about her, but what’s more is that after the Second Wizarding War, Andromeda has lost both her husband Ted and daughter Nymphadora to the Death Eaters and is left to raise her grandson Teddy with help from his godfather Harry Potter.
Nymphadora (don’t call her that) is an Auror and member of the Order of the Phoenix.
Throughout Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, whenever we see Tonks she looks grief-stricken and distracted, though we do not discover why until the end of the book when we learn that she has fallen in love with Remus Lupin, who pretends not to return her affections for fear of her being ostracized for marrying a werewolf. We never really get to know how Tonks feels about this or how she feels when she eventually does marry Remus and gives birth to son Teddy before she is killed during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Katie Bell is a member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and friends with the other female members of the team. That is all we know about Katie for five years until she has the misfortune of coming into contact with Draco Malfoy, which leads to her being Imperiused and accidentally cursed in his attempt to assassinate Dumbledore. Katie then spends the next 8 months in St. Mungos and still inexplicably graduates from Hogwarts on time.
Katie does return to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts but how did she recover from the curse? Were there any lasting side effects? How did she pass her NEWTs with only 2 months in class? We will never know.
Blaise Zabini was first mentioned in the opening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone but readers weren't even sure of his gender until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — which has led to some wonderful fanfic.
Blaise is described as a reserved and solitary Slytherin who will sometimes hang out with Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, though he seems to look down on Death Eaters. As one of the few explicitly Black characters in the series, I always wondered how he dealt with the pureblood prejudice that I always read as a thinly veiled allusion to racism.
Parvati Patil is a fellow Gryffindor from Harry’s year who is best friends with Gryffindor and Ron’s ex-girlfriend Lavender Brown. Parvati is described as very pretty and girlish and attended the Yule Ball with Harry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As students are sorted via personality traits, I always wondered what differences she had from her identical twin sister Padma, who was sorted to Ravenclaw.
Penelope was a Muggle-born Ravenclaw prefect who dated Percy Weasley. Penelope was petrified in Harry’s second year at the same time as Hermione Granger, as she was coming from the library. Ravenclaws are known for their wit and cleverness, so who was Penelope and how in the world did she end up dating someone as odious as Percy?
After Hagrid takes over Care of Magical Creatures class, the perils of being taught by a professor with only two years of magical education are apparent. However, when Hagrid needs a substitute we are introduced to Professor Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank who even Harry must admit is a better-qualified teacher than Hagrid.
This begs the question, why is she a substitute? What does she do when she’s not teaching? Where are the hiring standards at Hogwarts?
Filius Flitwick is the Hogwarts Charms Professor and head of Ravenclaw house. He is described as very tiny and it is believed that he has a goblin ancestor. Flitwick was a dueling champion who stayed at Hogwarts during Harry’s seventh year to help protect students from Voldemort’s followers, the Carrows and (it was believed at the time) Snape.
Since we know that the Death Eaters were violent towards anyone who was not a pureblood wizard, Flitwick must be a particularly impressive wizard to survive in Hogwarts.
Mother of Blaise, we’re not certain of her first or last name. What we do know is that she’s famous for being a beautiful seven-time widow whose husbands all died mysteriously and left her vaults full of gold.
Any new story told about the Wizarding World in which she is not the central character is a waste.