The Harry Potter universe celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the very first book's publication this year, and as part of a new BBC documentary about the series author JK Rowling has revealed the inspiration behind the iconic Deathly Hallows symbol.
The symbol -- a triangle with a struck-through circle inside of it -- is identifiable by fans and non-fans alike thanks to the massive popularity and cultural force of the Harry Potter books and films. In the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the symbol was explained to represent the three objects that comprise the Hallows: the invisibility cloak, resurrection stone, and the Elder Wand.
But in the documentary Harry Potter and the History of Magic, Rowling revealed that the symbol was inspired not by magic but by a masonic emblem from the 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King and she can pinpoint exactly how the inspiration occurred because of a truly heartbreaking reason -- the death of her mother.
"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," Rowling says in the documentary.
Rowling went on to explain that she wasn't aware that's where she got the inspiration, however, until years later when she re-watched the film and was stunned to see the Masonic symbol.
"I looked at the sign of the Deathly Hallows and realized how similar they are," she said. "I’ve got a feeling that on some deep subconscious level, they are connected."
Rowling also went on to explain that she feels that her mother's death was an important part of her creating Harry Potter exactly as it is, as the series also deals with loss.
"The Potter series is hugely about loss," Rowling said. "If my mother hadn't died, I think the stories would be utterly different and not what they are."