For millions of avid Harry Potter fans growing up, waiting with great anticipation for a new book, standing in long, slow-moving queues from dusk till dawn to purchase the newly released book, and binge-reading under them covers late at night was an enchanting experience. 

Since its first publication in 1997, Harry Potter has spawned seven books (excluding various spin-offs), eight big-budget Hollywood movies, dedicated websites, theme parks, and an endless supply of video games, toys, and merchandise. 

The series ended with The Deathly Hallows, and all Harry Potter superfans know how vital the magical artifacts were to this magical story. 

JK Rowling Explains the Inspiration behind the Deathly Hallows Symbol

In a BBC documentary Harry Potter: a History of Magic, author JK Rowling reveals the symbol had a deeper meaning. 

The Deathly Hallows symbol—a vertical line and circle enclosed by a triangle represents three legendary Harry Potter artifacts: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility. It was believed that whoever possessed all three would be immortal. 

Image of Deathly Hallows and Masonic Symbol (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Rowling was watching The Man Who Would Be King, a Rudyard Kipling adaptation starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. The movie featured a Masonic symbol, and she believes it might have been subconsciously inspired the Deathly Hallows symbol. 

The Masonic symbol uses the manual tools of stonemasons, a square, and a set of compasses to form a triangular shape. 

But how could she be so sure that the two are connected?

On the night she was watching the movie, she was sketching the Hogwarts herbology teacher, Professor Sprout. The next day, Rowling got a phone call about her mother’s death. 

Rowling said that when she went to re-watch the film; she was stunned when she noticed the striking similarity between the Masonic symbol and the Deathly Hallows symbol. She believes her subconscious associated with the symbol seen in the movie.

I’ve got a feeling that on some deep subconscious level, they are connected. The Potter series is hugely about loss. If my mother hadn’t died, I think the stories would be different.

Significance of the Deathly Hallows Symbol

The magical artifact not only made a wizard powerful and immortal, but it had an important narrative significance in the Harry Potter universe. In order to end Voldemort’s reign of terror, Harry had to die for the piece of Voldemort’s soul within him to die as well. 

However, Rowling had other plans. She created the Deathly Hallows to let the principal character, Harry, die temporarily.

It was a way for the author to allow the hero to fulfill his self-sacrifice journey without being dead permanently.

As the master of death, Harry defeated death, and fans all over the world rejoiced.