Dean Thomas was a seriously underrated character, and actually could have had a much bigger storyline than we saw. Find out his secret history…

Dean Thomas leans on a chair in his school uniform
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

J.K. Rowling knew so much more about Dean Thomas than just his friendship with Seamus Finnigan and a love of West Ham United. However, his backstory was cut to make way for Neville Longbottom’s (necessary) storyline.

When it came to working on the films, J.K. Rowling revealed that she gave the director, Chris Columbus, a description of Dean, and that he was also born and bred in London.

She said: ‘I think Chris was slightly taken aback by the amount of information I had on this peripheral character. I had a lot of background on Dean, though I had never found the right place to use it.’

It's fascinating to find out exactly what the author had planned for the Gryffindor lad, who was always there in the background but rarely pulled focus. Here is the hidden history of Dean Thomas...

Dean’s dad and his ‘blood status’

J.K. Rowling revealed that Dean had been raised by his Muggle mother and stepfather after his dad walked out on the family, and was totally unaware that he was a wizard until receiving the letter from Hogwarts aged 11.

This was very briefly touched upon in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Dean went on the run because he didn’t know whether his father was a wizard or not, putting him at risk under the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Apart from that, we received very little information about Dean’s home life in the series (we just know that he was a big fan of footy!)

J.K. Rowling also gave us the tragic story about Dean’s dad, who was indeed a wizard. After being asked to join the Death Eaters (and refusing), Dean’s dad left his family to protect them and was subsequently killed when Dean was still a baby.

‘Not sure. My dad left my mum when I was a kid. I’ve got no proof he was a wizard, though.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dean looking inquisitive wearing his Gryffindor robes
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Dean’s siblings

According to J.K. Rowling, Dean had several half-brothers and sisters. We were usually introduced to notable characters’ siblings, with examples including the Weasleys, Parvati and Padma Patil, and Colin and Dennis Creevey. That being said, it could be the case that these siblings were Muggles and therefore wouldn’t have attended Hogwarts.

Dean’s relationship with Ginny (from Dean’s POV)

Dean was presented as a good friend to Harry who spoke his mind and was an all-round likeable person, which made his relationship with Ginny sort of heartbreaking when you look at it from his point of view. Although we’ve always seen the end of their romance as a stroke of luck on Harry’s part, what actually happened was that Dean was unfairly blamed for something he didn’t mean to do (he annoyed Ginny by doing such things as offering to help her out of the portrait hole). What makes things worse is that Harry was actually the one to blame for it!

Ginny might well have been Dean’s first girlfriend – she was the first one mentioned in the novels, anyway – so maybe his attempts to help her when it was unneeded was a misguided attempt to act in a gentlemanly manner. We're sure Ginny had her reasons - after all, the couple were known to argue quite a bit, but it must have been tough on Dean when Ginny and Harry started dating so soon after.

After all Dean had to put up with regarding Harry (constantly being upstaged, having to deal with his deep angst in book five and so on), it seemed harsh of Harry to not even consider how Dean might feel about this development. Dean might have really cared for Ginny and could have been nursing a bit of a broken heart!

Harry looked over the top of Ginny’s head to see Dean Thomas holding a shattered glass in his hand.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Dean’s unwavering support of Harry

Even when Dean’s best friend, Seamus, didn’t believe in Harry when he told everyone that Voldemort had returned, Dean stuck to his guns and supported his dorm mate, so much so that he joined a secret club without telling Seamus and spoke up to Professor Umbridge during Defence Against the Dark Arts (the only person to do so aside from Harry and Hermione, it would seem).

‘Well, it’s like Harry said, isn’t it?’ said Dean. ‘If we’re going to be attacked, it won’t be risk free.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Dean’s journey in the Deathly Hallows, and the Battle of Hogwarts

Dean ended up on the run, much like the golden trio, in Deathly Hallows. Unable to attend Hogwarts due to the ban on Muggle-borns, Dean avoided capture by travelling with Ted Tonks, Dirk Creswell and the goblins Griphook and Gornuk. Unaware that they were being overheard by Harry, Ron and Hermione, Dean proved his unswerving loyalty to his friend, telling his companions:

‘I know Harry Potter… And I reckon he’s the real thing – the Chosen One, or whatever you want to call it.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

After escaping from Malfoy Manor with the trio, Luna and Dobby (sniff), Dean stuck with Luna and even arrived at the Battle of Hogwarts with her, ready to fight. The most amazing part of this being that he arrived ready for a battle without even a wand in his possession.

‘We’re fighting, aren’t we?’ said Dean, taking out his fake Galleon. ‘The message said Harry was back, and we were going to fight. I’ll have to get a wand though–’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Now we know more about Dean’s backstory, perhaps it’s time to go back through the books and really focus on him this time! Despite being one of the smaller characters in the series, Dean had all the courage and confidence to make him a true Gryffindor!

You can read more of our favourite Wizarding World unsung heroes here.