At the very end of Philosopher’s Stone we find the following passage:

”Thanks," said Harry, "I'll need something to look forward to." People jostled them as they moved forward toward the gateway back to the Muggle world. Some of them called:

”Bye, Harry!"

”See you, Potter!"

”Still famous," said Ron, grinning at him.

”Not where I'm going, I promise you," said Harry.
Philosopher’s Stone - Chapter 17: The Man with Two Faces

This seems a bit odd, because Harry’s friends call him by his first name. His teachers often call him by his last name. Malfoy calls him by his last name. Ernie refers to him by his last name when pontificating about the alleged attack on Justin. But these are not people who would have been saying goodbye to Harry at King’s Cross.

So who would have said “See you, Potter!”?

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    It says. "People" – Valorum Jun 19 at 12:50
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    Having gone to a big standard comprehensive and been called by my surname for 7 years (indeed I still am by some and am now 39...) , it is just not that uncommon, especially when it is not unusual for people to share first names with fellow pupils. – Jontia Jun 19 at 15:08
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    Also, Harry was a Quidditch player - they're often referred to by their last names during the commentary of matches. Plenty of people around to hear about it and for the name to catch on. – Luna Jun 20 at 19:55

A random acquaintance

In Britain, calling students by their last name is a mark of a "public school" (by which they mean an old, prestigious, fee-paying school). It is considered old-fashioned. Hogwarts is trying to emulate this idea with houses, uniforms, boarding, and long historical tradition. In this sort of environment, closer friends would use your given name, and almost everyone else would used your surname.

You can see examples of this in how everyone calls Snape "Snape" or "Professor Snape", but Dumbledore calls him "Severus". Because they have a closer relationship then say, Hagrid and Snape.

So who ever called out "See you Potter!" would have just been someone he knew from school, but didn't know terribly well.

  • 1
    You mention Hagrid and he's a great example of your point: even Harry and company, who are rather close to him, call him by his last name instead of "Rubeus". – Thunderforge Jun 19 at 15:46
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    Teachers calling students by their last names might be a mark of a "public school", and be considered old-fashioned, but students calling other students by their last names isn't. Using last names as a sort of nickname is pretty common in my experience. – Anthony Grist Jun 19 at 15:50

One of his fans. He had plenty because of his defeat of Voldemort. One of them could've greeted him.

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    This seems like a great start to an answer, but I think there's the question of why one of his fans would call him "Potter" as opposed to "Harry". Could you expand on that in your answer? – Thunderforge Jun 19 at 15:48
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    @Thunderforge Why would his fans or the general population presume to be familiar with Harry? It's just Dumbledore who thinks that having ruined Harry's life gives him permission to use his first name, while using the last name for all other students, as is expected of him. – RalfFriedl Jun 20 at 8:33

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