Birthdays and Age

All of you rabid Harry Potter fans out there, tell me, what is the significance of October 4th?

October 4th is Minerva McGonagall’s birthday. Happy birthday, professor!

One of the games I play with books (geek alert!) is that I like to figure out how old characters are, and when their birthdays are. J. K. Rowling has been unbelievably helpful in this regard, as she comes right out and tells us, and those she doesn’t have been calculated by innumerable fans:

January 9 – Severus Snape*

January 26 – Gilderoy Lockheart (according to this site)

January 30 – Lily Potter (nee Evans)

February 6 – Arthur Weasley

March 1 – Ron Weasley

March 10 – Remus Lupin

March 27 – James Potter (though there is some doubt about the accuracy of this)

[mid- to late April] – Teddy Lupin

May 1 – Griphook

May 15 – Pomona Sprout

April 1 – Fred and George Weasley (of course these two were born on April Fool’s Day!)

June 5 – Draco Malfoy

June 28 – Dobby

23 or 30 June – Dudley Dursley

July 30 – Neville Longbottom

July 31 – Harry Potter

[late July or early August] – Viktor Krum

August 11 – Ginny Weasley

August 22 – Percy Weasley

[early September] – Cedric Diggory

September 19 – Hermione Granger

September 26 – Quirinus Quirrel

October 4 – Minerva McGonagall

October 17  – Filius Flitwick

Molly Weasley – October 30

[late October] – Angelina Johnson (sometime during the week before Halloween)

November 29 – Bill Weasley

December 6 – Rubeus Hagrid

December 12 – Charlie Weasley

December 31 – Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort.

 

One of the funny little details JKR has revealed is that students must be 11 years old to enter Hogwarts. In the Canadian school system, entrance is based upon the year one is born (with due exceptions; children born in December sometimes enter school with children born in the year following). In Canada, children born in from January are the eldest in their class, while those born in the fall are the youngest. In Hogwarts, students born in the fall would be the eldest, and those born in the summer would be the youngest. That would make a shift in classroom dynamics.

 

Other books take more calculating. Howl of Howl’s Moving Castle, for instance, is born approximately February 5th, according to a fellow DWJ fan, as Howl turned 10, 000 days and night on Midsummer’s Day.

And sometimes characters’ actual birthdays can’t be discovered, only their age in relation to other characters via scattered clues within the texts: Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin feature several characters whose ages are given only in relation to that of their siblings, or in approximate terms – “so-and-so looked only a few years older than such-and-such,” for example.

So I was wondering: does anybody else play this game of trying to figure out the birthdays and approximate ages of characters? Whose have you discovered?

And does anybody else want to celebrate fictional characters’ birthdays?

 

 

* The years don’t interest me quite as much, but if you insist: Voldemort was born 1926; Hagrid in 1928; the Marauders, Lily, and Snape were born 1960; Bill Weasley in 1970; Charlie Weasley in 1972; Percy Weasley and Viktor Krum in 1976; Angelina Johnson and Cedric Diggory in 1977; Fred and George in 1978; Hermione in 1979; Harry, Neville, Ron, and Draco in 1980; and Ginny in 1981.

  • (1) “The years don’t interest me quite as much, but if you insist… Hermione in 1979; Harry, Neville, Ron, and Draco in 1980; and Ginny in 1981.”

    The years interest me only because Harry et al. are about my age. Their muggle world was similar to one I grew up in–minimal access to computers, no cell phones, etc. I wonder how the series would’ve been different had these characters had access to the modern conveniences available to children born in a later decade (Google instead of the Hogwarts library, for example).

    (2) “In Canada, children born in from January are the eldest in their class, while those born in the fall are the youngest. In Hogwarts, students born in the fall would be the eldest, and those born in the summer would be the youngest. That would make a shift in classroom dynamics.”

    When I was a child in the US, my school district defined each grade based on birth year. All children born during 1981 were together, except for a handful from 1980 who were held back. Today, in the same district (which my children attend), they’ve divided the grades based on September – August birthdays. Considering the pace of typical child development (and how different many children who are 4 are from children who are 5 in terms of fine and gross motor skills), it’s nice that all of the children are at least 5 when they begin school.

    • Janet

      Interesting to hear how the division according to birthdays has changed. I suspect that the reasoning behind Hogwarts’ 11-years minimum is along similar lines as that of your school district. I wonder what the system is in the UK – did JKR adopt the existing custom, or change it?

  • Reblogged this on The View From Down Here and commented:
    Absolutely and positively fascinating.

  • Loved this post 🙂

  • Yash

    Oh, yes, I used to be very curious about character birth dates! Now, though, the months interest me more than the dates. Sometimes (when I am very, very bored and obsessed) I try and make connections between the characters’ birth months and their personalities.

    Also, I know an important witch whose birthday it was yesterday! *buries Janet in streamers* Hope you had a great dinner with your family! ^_^

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  • Reblogged this on starrycoffeecatandsprinkles.