J.K. Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry isn't without its real-life influences. Although the characters in her Harry Potter series are all fictional, the author did draw upon a few key traits from some real-world personas to create some of those fan favourites.

Hermione Granger is somewhat autobiographical

Let's start with one that might be a little more obvious than the rest: J.K. Rowling definitely put some of herself into at least one of her characters. Rowling admitted in a 1999 interview that the character was “loosely based” on herself at a younger age. “She's a caricature of me when I was 11, which I'm not particularly proud of,” Rowling said. Rowling also said that she modelled the character's growth after her own shedding of certain adolescent grievances, promising at the time.

Harry Potter is based on a neighbour boy

Rowling remembered playing dress-up as witches and wizards with some neighborhood kids when she was growing up in Yate. She told The Guardian, “A gang of children, including myself and my sister, used to play together up and down our street. Two of the gang members were a brother and sister whose surname was Potter. I always liked that name.”

“Ian was the perfect inspiration for a wizard. He was a nightmare, forever playing tricks,” his sister Vikki told The Guardian. “He used to do things like booby-trapping the stabilisers on my bike, and collecting tadpoles in jars and then plastering the green slime everywhere.”

The real Ron Weasley was Rowling's childhood bestie

Harry’s own right hand man, Ron Weasley, was inspired by a kid named Sean Harris, who often helped young Rowling escape the malaise of adolescence. As Rowling would later admit to Wales Online, Harris' car was what allowed her to fly away on her own adventures.

That old car would, of course, find its way into the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Ron springs Harry from his aunt and uncle's house. “Harry was rescued by that car, just as the car rescued me from my boredom,” Rowling explained.

A science teacher informed Severus Snape

John Nettleship is the science teacher whose visage was borrowed for the development of Professor Severus Snape, and he said he's proud to have inspired the author. He told Wales Online, “I guess I was rather like the Professor Snape character in the books – demanding, wouldn't suffer fools gladly, exacting. I don't know if she was actually scared of me. She was a somewhat timorous child, but what she especially detested was chemistry. I don't know if it was the subject or the teacher.”