Harry Potter: "Florean used to give me free ice creams. What's happened to him?"
Bill Weasley: "Dragged off, by the look of his place."
— Discussion of Florean's disappearance[src]

Florean Fortescue (d. 1996) was the owner of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley. He was an expert on the subject of medieval witch-burnings.[2] In the summer of 1996 he was abducted[3] and later murdered by Death Eaters.[4]


During the summer of 1993, when Harry Potter stayed at the Leaky Cauldron for a couple of weeks, Florean gave Harry free ice cream sundaes every half hour and helped him complete his History of Magic homework on the medieval witch-burnings which may mean that he did well in his History of Magic classes.[2]

In 1996, Florean was forcibly dragged away by Death Eaters, leaving his ice cream parlour a mess.[3] Voldemort had sought information on the Elder Wand and the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, and so captured and tortured Fortescue.[1]

The reason for his kidnapping did not become public knowledge; Bill Weasley speculated that he might have done something to provoke the anger of the Death Eaters.[3]

Behind the scenes

  • Florean was related to former Hogwarts Headmaster Dexter Fortescue.
  • J. K. Rowling has revealed that she originally intended to include in the books a subplot involving the Elder Wand that would explain the circumstances of Florean's disappearance, but that she decided to cut it, as she felt it was "not really leading anywhere."
  • She promised to include more information on Florean's death in the Encyclopaedia she planned to write in the future, though the encyclopaedia was never published; rather, Pottermore provided this information. Additionally, she stated that she did not want Florean to die, as she became rather attached to his character after her closest friend married a man with the same first name.
  • Florean was murdered regarding information about ancient magic.[4]

Author's comments

"Florean is a descendant of Dexter, and I originally planned Florean to be the conduit for clues that I needed to give Harry during his quest for the Hallows, which is why I established an acquaintance fairly early on. At this stage, I imagined the historically-minded Florean might have a smattering of information on matters as diverse as the Elder Wand and the diadem of Ravenclaw, the information having been passed down in the Fortescue family from their august ancestor. As I worked my way nearer to the point where such information would become necessary, I caused Florean to be kidnapped, intending him to be found or rescued by Harry and his friends.

The problem was that when I came to write the key parts of Deathly Hallows I decided that Phineas Nigellus Black was a much more satisfactory means of conveying clues. Florean's information on the diadem also felt redundant, as I could give the reader everything he or she needed by interviewing the Grey Lady. All in all, I seemed to have had him kidnapped and killed for no reason. He is not the first wizard whom Voldemort murdered because he knew too much (or too little), but he is the only one I feel guilty about because it was all my fault."


  • Fortescue's name may have been inspired by Sir Adrian Fortescue, a courtier at the court of King Henry VIII, who was condemned for treason without a trial for hostility to Henry VIII's church policies. He was beheaded at the Tower of London in 1539.
  • His name also may have been inspired by Hugh Fortescue, 2nd Earl Fortescue, a statue of whom resides outside Exeter castle. As Rowling went to university in this city she might have likely come across it. The castle is the site of the last three trials and executions of suspected witchcraft in England, potentially explaining Florean's expert knowledge of such issues.
  • Based on the December 2014 information provided about Florean Fortescue on Pottermore, his last name is more likely to have been influenced by John Fortescue, who wrote for the instruction of Prince Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales, in the time of the War of the Roses (15th century). Prince Edward died in battle at the age of 17. We know now, through Rowling's new writings found on Pottermore, that Florean Fortescue was intended to be the one to instruct Harry about various points of wizarding history (i.e.: the elder wand & the Ravenclaw diadem). Rowling calls him "historically minded."


Notes and references