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What Harry Potter can teach us about consistency

Eurest | Consistency |  01 June 2017

Hogwarts school

It's human nature to want some certainty in life. Just look at what happened when there was a mistake in the magically-consistent world of Harry Potter…

A horrifying moment for Harry Potter fans

Have you ever heard of Pottermore? It’s the site where JK Rowling continues to flesh out everyone’s favourite wizarding universe. And it was in a short story on this site that the unthinkable happened — a mistake.

The short story in question is about a Magical Congress taking place in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. The problem, however, was that Rowling set the Congress in 1777, when the city of Washington (where the story takes place) wasn’t founded until 1790.

Attention to detail

Now, you may be thinking “what’s the big deal?”. And yes, it does seem a bit odd to point out a factual mistake in a universe full of wizards and goblins. But here’s the thing: Rowling’s attention to detail throughout the series was famously fastidious.

The author conceptualised the whole series before starting work on the first book, and used intricate, handwritten planning sheets to track every detail and keep things consistent.

So it wasn’t so much the mistake that people were pointing out, but the fact that she’d made one.

And this goes to show just how much people care about consistency.

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