11 Ways You Can Tell They're A Harry Potter Fan On The First Date

It seems like every new day on the internet brings another several dozen think pieces on the state of modern romance. And everyone seems to have a different opinion. Either technology is ruining love as we know it, and dating nowadays is a vapid wasteland of Tinder profiles and lies, or modern day dating is freer and more feminist than ever, or absolutely nothing has changed and dating has always been garbage — the jury's out. But everyone can agree that dating is gross and complicated and sometimes fun, and that there's only one deal-breaker that really matters:

Do they like Harry Potter?

Look, I know that most people of this generation like Harry Potter, the same way most people of this generation like breathing and experiencing the emotion of joy. But there is always a chance that you might be out on a first date with someone who doesn't like Harry Potter. (Or worse, someone who seriously ships Hermione and Malfoy.) If you've discovered that you are, in fact, on a date with a Harry Potter hater, the important thing to do is not to panic or make any sudden movements.

But if you want to make sure that you're on a first date with a genuine, bona fide Harry Potter fan, here are some key tips to making sure that your prospective beau knows their ways around the Wizarding World.

1. You Talk About Which Hogwarts House You'd Each Be in Within the First Hour

We all know the typical protocol for a first date with a Potter fan: introductions, then awkward small talk, then sibling listing, then an in-depth discussion about which house each of you would be in. I guess in the days before Harry Potter, new lovers would just sit around and ask each other things like, "So do you value bravery? Or are you more into badgers?" to get to know each other. Luckily, now we have Hogwarts Houses to better judge each other's priorities right away.

2. They Have an Opinion on Which House You'd Be In

You know it's the real deal when your date had an informed opinion on your choice of house. If you say you've always felt like a Slytherin, for example, they might show concern. This is healthy. Any true Potter fan should have a healthy skepticism of Slytherin (but they should heed the Sorting Hat's words and support inter-house relationships at the end of the day).

3. They Know That Hufflepuffs Are Particularly Good Finders

Every HP fan can agree that A Very Potter Musical is a very important part of our shared Potter culture (and if you've never seen it before, you're welcome). And anyone who's seen A Very Potter Musical knows that Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders (and that Harry Potter is totally awesome). If they make a Starkid Potter reference, lock it down then and there, because that is a person worth going on a second date with.

4. They Quote at Least One J.K. Rowling Tweet

Quoting relevant tweets is another first date tradition. I mean, yes, in a perfect world we would all walk around spewing clever little quips of our own 24/7. But we don't live in a perfect world, and so we are often forced to talk to real life people about tweets that we've read online. And since J.K. Rowling is the absolute Queen of Twitter, it only makes sense for your date to quote at least one Rowling gem while on a date with you.

5. You Talk About What Kind of Patronus You Would Have

Once you've both figured out which house you'd be in, the next step in this burgeoning relationship is to discuss what kind of animal your patronus would be. You know that they're a for real fan if they can rattle off every character's patronus in the process, without even thinking twice (because you know that Kingsley Shacklebolt's patronus is a lynx, and you deserve a significant other who knows that too).

6. They Avoid Bringing up Snape on a First Date

Snape is a polarizing figure in today's society (except that we can all completely agree that Alan Rickman was the perfect actor for the role, and that he will be sorely missed). You might be concerned when your date doesn't bring up Severus Snape while you're sitting at the restaurant waiting for your check. Are they a Harry Potter fan or aren't they? But don't be concerned: your date is probably just trying to avoid a fight this early in the relationship (only a Harry Potter novice would start off a date by asking, "So, do you think Snape's love for Lily justified his actions overall?").

7. They Have Complicated Feelings About the Movies

If the HP movies come up, they'll probably want you to know right away that they don't HATE the movies, but their feelings toward the movies are complicated.... I mean, on the one hand, movies are a different medium than books, and some of the casting is completely on point. But why did Hermione have all of Ron's best lines from the books? At this point, they will probably launch into a rant on how the movies ruined Ron's character, and then abruptly stop in embarrassment and start playing with their fork because they don't want you to think they're a crazy person. This is a promising sign.

8. Your References Don't Go Over Their Head

They don't stare at you blankly when you use the word "muggles," or when you blame nargles for stealing your keys. They nod in understanding when you say that you are simultaneously excited and anxious about the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (like, you know it's not going to be bad... but what if it's bad?). They commiserate when you express fear over not being able to see The Cursed Child when it comes out in London. They just get you.

9. They Understand Your Time Turner Necklace

Or your Deathly Hallows tattoo. Or your snitch-patterned sweater (because what else would you wear on a first date?). They say, "Nice time turner!" instead of, "Is that like... a Lord of the Rings thing or something?" Or at least, if you're not decked out in your Harry Potter finest, they might be wearing their lightening bolt earrings. Or they might have a Gryffindor scarf. Or they open their laptop and hastily close out of a tab with a butterbeer recipe in it. Fan-spotting isn't always that hard.

10. They've Been Trying to Tell If You're a Harry Potter Fan All Night

Well, of course they have. They might even ask you point blank. Because they clearly like you enough to go on a date, and that means that they need to know if this thing has any potential. So that probably explains why they keep asking you which house you'd be in, or which minor Harry Potter characters had the best friendship (the answer is obviously Parvati and Lavender). A true Harry Potter fan just wants to find people on their level.

11. They Have All the Books Prominently Displayed

This is the true romantic clincher. OK, so maybe you don't always get to see their room on the first date. But if your first date ends up back at their place (or started off at their place), you shouldn't have to look too hard to find their Harry Potter collection. Most Harry Potter fans have the Harry Potter books. That may sound obvious, but where they keep their books should tell you something about how much of a fan they are. Do they have them locked in a display case? Or are they lying around on the floor (not necessarily a bad thing — they could be in the middle of rereading them)? Wherever they keep their books, here's hoping that you and your very special wizard or witch make it to date number two.

Images: Alexandre Breveglieri/Flickr, Giphy (12)