The Harry Potter book series from the wildly creative mind of J.K Rowling is the highest selling book series of all time. Not only that, but the Wizarding World movies that came from her books is the fourth highest grossing movie franchise in the world.
There is no denying it: This story is well-loved by people around the world. So much so, that there is an entire genre of tattoos that pay tribute to the characters of Harry Potter and their adventures.
If you are thinking about getting an inked ode to the Harry Potter franchise, here is your list of some of the most popular Harry Potter tattoos out there:
Harry Potter Quote Tattoos
The Harry Potter books and movies are littered with quotes that strike the heart.
Professor Snape’s heartbreaking and romantic “Always” in the final book about why his Patronus takes the same shape of his long-lost love: Harry Potter’s mother, Lily. This is a simple one word tattoo that hits on everlasting love despite death.
If you are looking for a quote that inspires action, Professor Dumbledore has a great one from The Sorcerer’s Stone: “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Another Dumbledore adage – this one from the third installment of the franchise, The Prisoner Of Azkaban – is about how joy really is present if we just decide to look: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Then there are the number of spells that are uttered across the Harry Potter universe. “Lumos” is a spell that can bring light to dark places, “Expecto Patronum” can make the evil that threatens you disappear, “Riddikulus” can reveal your fears to be actually quite silly, and “Alohomora” can unlock the unattainable.
Wands were used to do a lot of good and a lot of bad in the Harry Potter series. One of the great things about this tattoo choice is that you can go small with a mini wand tattoo on your finger, or larger with a wand tattoo the length of your forearm.
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A wand tattoo can be seen as a symbol of power and can serve as a reminder to believe in your own magic.
Deathly Hallows Symbol Tattoo
The Deathly Hallows in the Harry Potter world are three objects: An invisibility cloak, the Elder Wand, and the Resurrection Stone. These items are from Death, and were given to three wizard brothers.
When you have all three, you become the Master of Death.
The symbol for these three powerful objects is a triangle (representing the cloak) encompassing a circle (representing the Resurrection Stone), with a straight line through the middle (representing the Elder Wand).
In the final installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry realizes that he has to die in order for Voldemort to die. However, with the Deathly Hallows, Harry was able to be resurrected.
This is a strong metaphor for self-sacrifice for the greater good. However, with the Deathly Hallows, one doesn’t have to actually die.
A Deathly Hallows tattoo can represent the choice of sacrificing your time now for a better future.
Professor Dumbledore’s loyal companion throughout the series is a phoenix named Fawkes. Not only that, it turned out that the phoenix feathers that created both Harry’s and Voldemort’s wands came from Fawkes.
The phoenix is a mythical bird that has made appearances across multiple cultures in the world.
From the god-like Ancient Egyptian entity, Bennu, that was linked to the sun, creation, and rebirth, to the fiery Chinese bird of good fortune, Fenghuang, a symbol of Confucian values such as virtue, duty, ritual, and compassion.
According to Custom Tattoo Design,
“This [phoenix] symbolizes rebirth, renewal and the never-ending circle of life. In this context, the phoenix is often seen as a metaphor for hope, as it rises from the ashes time and time again. It is also considered to be a sign of strength in the face of adversity.”
A phoenix tattoo can be an empowering design choice – it is a reminder that when life knocks you down, you are always able to rise from the ashes.
Death Eater Skull Tattoo
Tattoos are part of the Harry Potter universe, most notably in the form of the Death Eater symbol, known as the “dark mark”: A skull with a snake coming out of its mouth.
This tattoo marked wizards and witches as death eaters, the cronies of Voldemort, and was used as a way to send up the death eater version of the Bat signal.
This can be a surprising tattoo choice for some Potterheads, as it is a symbol of the “bad guys” of the franchise. However, as The Trend Spotter explains, it is not all bad,
“For some, it could be a way to show the balance between good and evil or could be inked to show you have overcome a challenge.”
Remember, some Death Eaters left the group and were integral parts of saving Harry’s life.
Not a fan of the skull? You could opt for a single snake.
Snakes are weaved throughout the Harry Potter universe, from the symbol of the Hogwarts house, Slytherin, to the fact that Harry could speak parseltongue (the language of snakes) and the basilisk in the second installment of the book and movie.
The snake has an interesting symbolism, and one that many cultures around the world have recognized.
These reptiles go through a process of shedding their skin – this is because their skin doesn’t grow with their bodies. So, snakes have to shed their skin to enter the next stage of their lives.
Of the symbolism of the snake, Saved Tattoo explains,
“In the Native American culture, snakes are seen as symbols of life and rebirth…The Hopi people, for example, perform an annual snake dance to celebrate the union of Snake Girl and Snake Youth, and to renew the fertility of Nature.”
If you’ve experienced the process of shedding your old life to embrace the new, a snake tattoo can be the perfect symbol for this transition.
Sorting Hat Tattoo
The Sorting Hat appears in the first installment of the Harry Potter franchise, The Philosopher’s Stone.
This magical hat is placed on the heads of Hogwarts’ first years in an attempt to place them in the correct house according to personality, temperament, and, most importantly, desire.
Potterheads will remember that the Sorting House wavered on placing Harry in Slytherin House. Harry – after hearing the negative takes on this Hogwarts House – begs not to be placed in the “evil” house. Instead, he’s placed in Gryffindor.
The choice of getting a Sorting Hat tattoo can be as simple as,
“While it won’t be able to decide which house you belong to, a Sorting Hat tattoo will show your love and appreciation of a series that changed the world,”Tattoodo
However, it can also be a powerful symbol of the significance of your choices. You may be predisposed to certain things, but, at the end of the day what has the most impact are your decisions.
Lightning Bolt Tattoo
Harry’s fate was sealed the night Voldemort killed his family and, in an attempt to kill him, too, maimed Harry with his iconic lightning bolt scar.
This lightning bolt is versatile – you can opt for a single line or an outline of a lightning bolt.
A bolt of lightning has meaning beyond the Harry Potter franchise. Our Mindful Life explains,
“In Greek mythology, the lightning bolt is the weapon of Zeus. It represents a destructive force to reckon with. Because lightning strikes swiftly, it also symbolizes strength and determination.”
Golden Snitch Tattoo
If you loved the magical quidditch games peppered into the Harry Potter books and movies, a tribute to the golden snitch may be the perfect tattoo choice for you. In the game of quidditch, the snitch is a tiny golden ball that the seeker attempts to catch to end and win the game.
The snitch doesn’t want to be caught though… It weaves its way through the players to stay outside of the seeker’s reach. All while the other team’s players are trying to knock them off their brooms.
This can be seen as a metaphor for life. Reaching for what you truly want isn’t an easy road. There are people and situations which are going to knock you off of your path. But, continuing to go after what you really want is totally worth it.
As the name suggests, a golden snitch is gold. If you want this to be represented in your tattoo, you’ll have to include yellow shades. If you do decide to introduce light color to your design, proceed with caution.
“Yellow ink is generally the shade to fade first on a tattoo. If you have a yellow undertone, avoid using this color as it can look muddy on the skin. Avoid using these shades as anything but a highlight or additional touch,”Saved Tattoo
A golden snitch tattoo can serve as a powerful reminder to keep going.
This is a super cute Harry Potter tattoo option for those who love random, minimalist tattoo designs.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, one of the franchise’s most loved characters, the house elf, Dobby, was accidentally given a sock releasing him from his servitude to the Malfoys.
One humble sock symbolized a new life for him and freedom.
So, a mini tattoo of a sock can have deep meaning – it can represent autonomy and taking a new path in life; perfect for Harry Potter fans who are starting over.
In the third Harry Potter book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learn’s a new spell: Expecto Patronum. This is the most powerful defensive spell in this wizarding world, as it expels Dementors.
This spell creates a form, and Harry’s was a stag, the same as his father’s.
The stag is a significant symbol outside of the Harry Potter universe, and has roots in ancient Celtic beliefs.
“The stag, specifically the male, symbolizes the very forest itself. The antlers resemble tree branches and carry these like a crown. It also represents speed, agility, and sexual prowess. All these are integral to nature’s regenerative power, signified by how stags shed their antlers in autumn and regrow them in spring,”Symbol Sage
Symbol Sage goes on to explain that different color stags have different meanings. White stags can represent newness and an adventurous spirit, while black stags can symbolize death and transformation.
A stag patronus as a Harry Potter tattoo can represent safety, as well as your ability to face your demons and come out on top.
If you are a Potterhead and want to get a Harry Potter inspired tattoo, chances are you used to wish that a letter would arrive asking you to attend Hogwarts.
A super simple tattoo to commemorate this magical time of first diving into this series is an outline of the magical school.
An outline tattoo works perfectly on the forearm or on the wrist, and can act as a reminder of the magic you love.
If you are trying to find tattoo inspiration, books and movies that have had a profound effect on you are amazing places to look. So many important lessons can be found in the pages of books and in the adventures on screen.