Part of the series' massive success stems from the wizarding world's wildly intricate rules and rich history; one that might have been quite different if J.K. Rowling didn't have a team of highly skilled editors by her side.
There are a number of Harry Potter plot points J.K. Rowling didn't use, and it's probably for the best. From a Sorting Hat that was little more than a lackluster collection of straws, to killing off the only admirable father figure in the whole series, these cut scenes from the Harry Potter books would have unarguably changed the wizarding world for the worse.
Thankfully, these abandoned Harry Potter ideas were cut more thoroughly than Nearly Headless Nick's neck.
J.K. Rowling killed off so many characters throughout the Harry Potter series. She planned all the deaths years in advance, and refused to budge on their grim fates, except for when it came to certain Weasleys. When J.K. Rowling was penning her fifth installment, Order of the Phoenix, she originally intended to kill off Ron Weasley's beloved father.
As it's written, Arthur Weasley narrowly survives his battle with Voldemort's snake Nagini. However, in earlier drafts, Nagini came away victorious. Rowling ended up sparing Arthur's life, as she felt that Harry Potter doesn't feature many doting fathers.
“If there's one character I couldn't bear to part with, it's Arthur Weasley,” she told TODAY. “I think part of the reason for that is there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series.”
The Weasley family is hit particularly hard when Fred is killed in the Battle of Hogwarts (which Rowling allegedly knew would happen when she decided to let Arthur live). With tragedy on the horizon for the family, it would've been too much to kill off the only good father in the entire series.
Ron Weasley is the misfit hero the series needs; his lovable dorkiness perfectly foils Harry Potter's scandalous fame. Weasley and Potter teach the reader important lessons about friendship, so why the heck did J.K. Rowling think it was a good idea to kill him off?
Rowling admitted that she "wasn't in a very happy place" when she started to think about Ron Weasley's tragic demise.
"Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think was a reflection that I wasn't in a very happy place, I started thinking I might punish one of them off. Out of sheer spite... But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn't have done it]."
The idea of Hogwarts without a Sorting Hat is incomprehensible, but it was almost a reality. Though Rowling knew she wanted the students in Hogwarts to be sorted into four different houses that each had unique qualities, the Sorting Hat had a couple lackluster early incarnations.
Originally, Rowling wanted the Sorting Hat to be a machine that "did all kinds of magical things before reaching a decision." Rowling herself admitted that this idea was "too easy."
Next, she thought kids should be sorted by the ghosts of the four founders. The ghosts would exist inside statues that came alive in the entrance hall, picking children for their houses one-by-one.
After that, Rowling grappled with a few basic ideas including drawing straws, being picked by a team captain, and pulling names from a hat. The final idea is what stuck, but instead of housing a collection of names, the hat ended up getting to decide the students' fate.
With white, slicked-back hair and that oh-so evil name, Draco Malfoy is a born villain. As it turns out, he may not have been so suave had J.K. Rowling gone with his original surname.
Draco Malfoy was originally supposed to be called Draco Spungen. The writer also considered Draco Smart and Draco Spinks, none of which have quite the same ring. Draco's decided surname is actually pretty apt. It's derived from "mal foi," the French words for "bad faith."