J.K. Rowling has always been quite clear about the fact that the Harry Potter world is infused with symbolism — but, in some cases, it took Rowling years to realize that the subject matter of the books was highly influenced by her personal life at the time.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic (which was created in honor of the 20-year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), Rowling opens up about how the Deathly Hallows symbol hearkens back to a very vulnerable and emotional moment in her life.
The Man Who Would Be King. The film prominently features both Freemasons and the Masonic symbol (which is, essentially, an eye inside of a triangle).
“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,” she says in the documentary.
The Deathly Hallows symbol bears a remarkable resemblance to the Masonic symbol, and Rowling says that having the movie fresh on her mind when she received the news of her mother’s death most likely influenced the appearance of the Hallows.
“The Masonic symbol is very important in that movie. And it was literally 20 years later that I looked at the sign of the Deathly Hallows and realized how similar they were.”
“When I saw the movie again and saw the Masonic symbol, I sort of went cold all over, and I thought, ‘Is that why the Hallows symbol is what it is?’ And I’ve got a feeling that, on some deep, subconscious level, they are connected,” she says in the documentary.
“So, I feel as though I worked my way back over 20 years to that night, because the Potter series is hugely about loss, and — I’ve said this before — if my mother hadn’t died I think the stories would be utterly different and not what they are.”