Back to Hogwarts Tattoos
We may be just a week or so behind, but that is no reason not to celebrate September 1st and Back to Hogwarts day! And what better way than to take a look at the symbols and imagery used throughout the books, that have also inspired thousands of Harry Potter aficionados to get tattoos honouring their fandom.
The Deathly Hallows
Perhaps the most immediately recognisable means of distinguishing a Potterhead with ink would be the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. This is a vertical line and circle enclosed by a triangle. It represents three legendary artefacts from the Potter universe – the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility.
The triangle represents the cloak, the circle is the stone, and the line down the centre symbolises the wand. The shape of the Deathly Hallows symbol is not dissimilar to the Masonic square and compass, which Rowling has later confessed to having subconsciously drawn inspiration from after seeing it in the movie The Man Who Would Be King. The film is an adaptation of a Rudyard Kipling book, starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey and Christopher Plummer.
The lightning bolt scar
Very popular with tattooed Potter fans is also two of Harry’s most significant trademarks – his characteristically shaped glasses, and the lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. The scar sits above Harry’s right eye. It is a result of the assassination attempt by Lord Voldemort, and the shape is most likely representative of the want movement required to perform the killing curse. Both Harry’s parents died in the attack which took place on October 31st, 1981. Harry himself was saved due to the strength of his mother’s love. The scar came to serve as a warning mechanism, burning more strongly the closer Voldemort was near.
The Dark Mark
Lord Voldemort’s crew were known as the Death Eaters. Their symbol of choice was a magical tattoo of the ‘dark mark’ on their inner left forearms. Much like a gang symbol tattoo, it served as identification and keeping them connected to their leader. When it is inactive, it appears somewhat like a faded red ink tattoo. However, an active one turns jet black.
They activate when Voldemort presses the mark on on Death Eater’s arm, sending out a signal to the rest of the group, which may then choose to apparate to his side. While they are not compelled to do so, the price for insubordination would be pretty high. The strength of the appearance of the mark is directly related to Voldemort’s health, and its intensity grows throughout the series of the books as Voldemort grow stronger.
Usually, tattoos fade in the opposite direction. To make certain this doesn’t happen, always listen to your tattoo artist’s instructions on aftercare and choose tattoo styles that stand the test of time. But who knows, temporary tattoos are growing in popularity – and quality. Perhaps we will see tattoo ink that last a little longer but still fades as time goes by as the next step in innovation. Until then, there are much worse choices than to honour your inner Harry or Hermione and Hogwarts with a dedicated Potterverse symbol-tattoo.