When choosing to get a tattoo inspired by your favorite fiction — in this case, Harry Potter — you typically have two choices. You can go all-out and shout your love from the rooftops by getting an easily recognizable tattoo, or you can play it cooler with a Harry Potter tattoo only diehard fans would understand. While there's a lot to be said for the former (who wouldn't want to wear their heart on their sleeve by getting an obvious symbol of their fandom?), I tend to find myself in the latter camp more often. When getting my Doctor Who tattoo, I chose to go with a quote rather than inking a full TARDIS on my back. While strangers may not get it, fellow Whovians always love it!
My next fandom tattoo will definitely be of the Harry Potter variety, and I’m going to keep with the subtle theme. I like the idea of a tattoo being a secret message that only other fans will appreciate. I get super excited when I see people with Harry Potter tattoos, and they tend to be pretty happy that someone recognized how awesome their design is!
Looking for inspiration, I obviously turned to Instagram, which houses a ton of awesome HP tattoo photos. Below are my favorite tattoos which were obviously designed by fans for fans, because only a Harry Potter fangirl/boy would understand them.
You know what the world needs? More Dobby enthusiasts. Sure, we all love that weird little house elf, but how many people would think to get a tattoo dedicated to him? I love how subtle this ode to Dobby is. Only true fans would tear up at the sight of this.
I love quote tattoos, and I definitely love Dumbledore quotes, so any tattoo quoting him is fine by me. But this gets bonus points for using a more obscure quote that showcases a love for our favorite headmaster AND an appreciation for music!
Ten points to Gryffindor for using an illustration from the book (I LOVE when people get tattoos of chapter illustrations!) and showcasing the Weasleys' brave but often underappreciated Ford Anglia!
Books and a Dumbledore quote? This tattoo has everything a fan could want. This is one of my favorite quotes in the entire series, and I think it's an especially poignant last line from Dumbledore to fans.
OK, real fans may not think this is particularly subtle, but would a non-HP fan immediately recognize a part of Hogwarts? I think not.
Are you crying right now? No judgment, because I'm totally crying right now. While non-fans may see sweet shared tattoos, HP fans will see this and be left sobbing at the memory of Harry looking to his dead loved ones for comfort before his death. THE FEELS.
Guys, she has the musical notes to "Hedwig's Theme" tattooed on her body. This is the best idea ever. Why didn't I think of this?
I love the idea of tattooing your favorite spell(s) somewhere on your body. It's not an in-your-face Harry Potter tattoo, but you know fellow fans will totally freak out if they see it (like I did with this tattoo).
Feeling lucky? Our favorite little vial of liquid luck gets top billing here, even though the casual observer may not get the reference.
A non-fan would look at this and go, "Cool dragon." But an HP fan would look at this and go, "HOLY COW, THAT'S A HUNGARIAN HORNTAIL!"
OK, I'm calling my tattoo artist right now and stealing this one. I've been debating getting this particular super-subtle Harry Potter tattoo for a while now, and this post has convinced me that I need it ASAP. I can't think of a simpler, more beautiful tribute to the book series than this!
Page 687 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is where Snape utters his famous "Always" line. I'll give you a minute to dry your eyes.