Fans can be protective of their cherished lore. In the world of Harry Potter, as in other worlds, they also can make great gatekeepers, correcting the little errors that mere muggles inevitably introduce. Say something that’s only half-true, or leave an important nuance out, and you’ll likely hear about it from fans who know their stuff.
The same can work in reverse, though. When fans set out to troll their favorite corner of fandom for humor, not everybody’s in on the joke — and once the misinformation is out, it’s kind of hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Harry Potter series publisher Bloomsbury recently found that out when it erroneously included an inaccurate little nugget in the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw editions of its recently-released 20th anniversary print of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The new editions’ bonus “fact files,” extra content tucked into the back of each book, offered 20th anniversary buyers some fun insight into the lore of each of Hogwarts’ four houses. But one tidbit in particular turned out not to be true…and we have to admit, we’re almost disappointed.
The error in question involves the romantic history of Professor Sprout (Hufflepuff) and Professor Flitwick (Ravenclaw): The "fun facts" section of each book has this bit of phony ephemera:
"Did you know? Professor Sprout had a long-term relationship with fellow teacher Professor Flitwick. Sadly, it didn’t work out but they remain friends.”
Sad to say, though, the romantic link between the heads of Houses Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw doesn't exist, and never did.
Back in June of 2016, College Humor published a satirical string of fake tweets from J.K. Rowling (they weren't) for a comedic piece called “J.K. Rowling Knows Way Too Much About Her Characters.” Among the gags was the revelation (it wasn't) that Professor Sprout and Professor Flitwick used to be in a long-term relationship.
Of course it wasn’t true, and — in case the satiric presentation wasn’t enough of a clue — J.K. Rowling never tweeted any such thing.
According to fan site The Rowling Library, the “fun facts” in the anniversary edition books are compiled from “various writings, interviews, and tweets of J.K. Rowling” over the years. Bloomsbury hasn’t said anything about how the funny tweet ended up — for a hot minute — in the Harry Potter canon, but they acknowledged to The Rowling Library that they’re aware of the mistake.
To review: though it would make a great parallel story for some bizarro Harry Potter alternate universe, Professor Sprout and Professor Flitwick were never a thing. But if you bought one of the anniversary edition books saying otherwise, it might be a good idea to hang on to it. We could see these things gaining some serious clout as future HP collectibles.