The BBC has a new documentary about the Harry Potter series just in time for the twentieth anniversary of the the first book's publication this year, and in it, author J.K. Rowling revealed the inspiration behind the iconic Deathly Hallows symbol (a triangle with a struck-through circle inside of it).
The symbol was introduced in the seventh novel in the series Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, and it explained that it represented the three objects: Elder Wand, invisibility cloak, and the resurrection stone.
In the documentaryHarry Potter and The History of Magic, J.K. Rowling explained that the symbol was inspired by the masonic emblem from 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King, which was memorable to her because it was the film she was watching when she found out that her mother died.
(Symbol used in the film)
"The reason I can be incredibly precise about when I drew this is that at some point when I was drawing the picture and watching the movie, my mother died," Rowling explained in the documentary
"I looked at the sign of the Deathly Hallows and realized how similar they are," she said. "I've got a feeling that on some deep subconscious level, they are connected."
According to Rowling, her mother's death was an important part of creating the Harry Potter series, an epic series that's hugely about loss.
"The Potter series is hugely about loss," Rowling explained. "If my mother hadn't died, I think the stories would be utterly different and not what they are."
It's good to know that there's a deeper meaning to the iconic Deathly Hallows symbol than most fans initially thought. The Deathly Hallows symbol is also said to represent the three important characters in the series: Harry Potter, Voldermort, and Severus Snape. This image explains it: