Headscratchers / Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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    Where'd the Hogwarts Song Go? 
  • After the sorting and the feast on the first night, everyone sings the Hogwarts school song. After this book the song is never mentioned again. After making it seem tradition to sing the school song every year, why would it never show up again? Kinda pointless, but it just bugs me.
    • Wordof God is that Dumbledore only sings the song when he's in a good mood, and that with the return of Voldemort to active attempts to regain a body in book 1, he was too worried about things to have it sung again.
    • For what it's worth, the song showed up in the Goblet of Fire movie with Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid singing it just before Harry finds Crouch Sr.'s body.
    • Also, Harry, and thus the POV, wasn't present for the whole opening feast in his second year. They could have sung it then as well.
    • In addition, there's Conservation of Detail. Unlike the sorting itself (which introduces new characters), the song does nothing now that we have heard it already. We don't see the Gringotts inscription every time they go to the bank either.

    Who'd Ever Want to Be King? 
  • In the chess game, why don't the protagonists take the place of more important pieces, including the king? That way, they'd be much less likely to be sacrificed.
    • The goal is to get to the other side, and that's kind of unlikely if you're playing the king...
    • So why don't they just take two Rooks and a Queen?
    • In the book, this was Ron's choice; the pieces walked off after Ron decided. (Adaptation Decay occurred in the movie, in which they took the place of three pieces that were missing when they got there (or, in the knight's case, the rider was missing)).
    • Actually, according to the book, the only way across was to *win* the match. So replacing the King wasn't a bad idea at all.
    • If I recall, they had to win in the movie, as well. Harry announcing "Checkmate!" was what finally let him through.
    • Hmm, wonder why he didn't try that trick sooner? (JK.)
    • Also, it's mentioned that the first capture is rook takes bishop. Any actual chess player knows that this is an extremely unlikely first capture.
    • It's queen takes knight. Don't know how likely that one is, myself.
    • Not very. Usually, a likely first capture is "Something takes Pawn" or "Knight takes something".
    • The first few moves aren't mentioned at all. It's mentioned as a shock when the queen takes the knight, but there's no indication as to when this takes place in the game. Then the castle bishop move happens, which could be possible if the game is in an advanced state of play.
    • At least in the movie, the first capture is pawn takes pawn, and it occurs on White's move 2.
    • Though they make it look like Ron (who's a skilled chess player) only did it to see what would happen. Seems kinda dumb to sacrifice one of your pieces just cuz you're curious what it will look like.
    • It wasn't dumb at all. Because of that pawn, they knew for certain that they had to protect their own pieces at all cost to avoid possible death.
    • Ron was playing the Center-Counter Defense (hence Pawn to D4) but you have a point. The defense Ron used is not one of the best openings for Black.
    • It's really not that inconceivable that a magical chessboard designed to keep people away from one of the most valuable treasures in the world and Ron Weasley, king of chess, would have made it to the middle game without losing any pieces.
    • In high level competition, assuming the players choose to start with one of the Closed openings, it is not infrequent that you can get to well past move 20 without any captures taking place.
    • Actually, since the knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces, and the Trio are the black pieces, you can lose the knight to the queen in just five moves.
    • The King cannot be taken in the game at all. A game ends with checkmate, where the king is in danger of being taken with no moves out of it. At no point does the king get defeated. Considering they needed to win the game, taking the place of the king would actually be the safest place, as it's an all-or-nothing game.
    • Yeah, Ron made a foolish choice there. At least one character (presumably himself, since he plays The Strategist for the duration of the match) should have been the King and avoided unnecessary danger. The plot wouldn't need to be affected; just choose Harry or Hermione as King instead and Ron still gets to sacrifice himself.
    • Well, look at it from JK Rowling's perspective. Ron had to sacrifice himself for character development, and Harry had to win the game because he's "The Hero", so the only person who could be the King would be Hermione, but that would seem sexist, like saying just because she's a girl she has to wait in the wings while the men do all the dangerous things. In-universe, there's not really an excuse, though.
    • In the movie, Hermione was the queen-side castle, and that, actually, is arguably the piece that most commonly takes the longest to get developed into the action, and, aside from the Kings, the most likely piece to last all the way to the late endgame. When I, a chess player saw the movie, I immediately assumed that Ron was being subconsciously protective of Hermione when he assigned her to the queen-side castle.
    • None of them would have willingly put themselves into safety if their friends were facing potential harm. Even if Ron did think of it, it would have just led to an argument.
    • So it was a case of Honor Before Reason?
    • That is a trope well-loved by Gryffindor. Just look a couple chapters back when Neville tried to stop the Power Trio from leaving Gryffindor Tower.
    • He didn't know that people would be hurt by the chess pieces at this point, did he?
    • Seeing as how he grew up with wizarding chess, which is essentially Battle Chess on a real chessboard, I'd say that if he didn't know, he should have guessed it.
    • In the movie, he didn't know, hence he sacrificed a pawn to test if it was just like a real Wizard's Chess game. In the book, I forget if this was the case, since it has been years since I've last read it.
    • It's only in the movie that the pieces destroy each other at all. In the book, Wizard's Chess just means that they move on their own. In that particular game, the opposing side liked to make captures by viciously punching out the defeated opponents. They had no way to know that until they saw them do it.
    • Actually, the chessmen in the books are also violent and physical. Perhaps not so much as the white chessmen, but they still enjoy beating up the competition a bit.
    • On a not entirely related note, but still about the chess match, when Ron is taken by the white queen, it says he takes one step forward. Forgive me if I'm wrong, as I do not claim to be an expert on chess, but can't knights only move in L-shapes? How could Ron move forward only one step?
    • Maybe he took a really big step in a diagonal direction and/or the squares were relatively small.
    • I always assumed step = move, as in he made one L-shaped move forward.
    • Maybe the king wasn't available. I mean, if the king basically does nothing but move around the board and can't be taken, isn't it possible that all others but the king were able to be played by Harry, Ron and Hermione?
    • Agreed! And what suicidal twit would ask to play a pawn? The film's solution makes sense for the same reason. Ron didn't have a choice as to the pieces, because the spaces were already there... the puzzle is set so that whoever wants to pass through is in danger. Quirrell would have been made a knight or a bishop - pieces that can survive to the endgame, but still have to risk it on the board.
    • Knights can hop over other pieces. How did the bulky knights shown in the film manage that? (I suppose other pieces moved out of the way, but I like to imagine them springing over lines of pawns. Screams of terror etc.)

    Hey Vernon, It's (almost) Halloween! 
  • Okay, so, this just bugs me. In the first chapter, Uncle Vernon is on his merry way to work, and sees a bunch of people standing around dressed in cloaks. This takes place on November 1st, the day after Halloween. So why are his thoughts "what are these people doing dressed like that" and not "Halloween was yesterday, you freaks"?
    • Uncle Vernon doesn't have a sense of humor, as noted by Harry a few times. Chances are that Vernon wouldn't be clever enough to make such an observation anyways.
    • Well, Halloween isn't really celebrated as much in the UK. At least, they don't dress up and make a big deal like Americans do.
    • We do now. Blame Eagleland Osmosis.
    • But did they do it in 1981?
    • Err...what? We really don't. Head out onto the streets on Halloween and you MIGHT see the odd group of young kids or people heading to parties but no where close to American Halloween. As a Brit whose spent time in the US I can tell you honestly they're not the same. Also Vernon mostly saw adults, generally speaking adults don't dress up for Halloween except for parties.
    • It's different for the various areas of the U.K. This Troper grew up in Scotland, where "Guising" was a big thing even in the 70's and 80's and it was common to see groups of kids dressed up in disguises tramping up and down the streets (with hollowed-out turnip lanterns, would you believe…). Maybe there was a large local Scottish ex-pat contingent? (Or, more likely, J.K. was living in Scotland at the time of writing and had the Scottish Halloween tradition in mind).
    • It'd be surprising if Vernon even knew what Halloween was, to be honest. An out-of-universe explanation may be that Rowling hadn't set the date of Voldemort's defeat yet.
    • Um, Hagrid says Harry's parents were killed on Halloween later in the same book. And the news guy which Vernon listens to says that Bonfire Night, which is celebrated in early November, is "next week".
    • What always bothered me is that the story starts on 'a dull, gray Tuesday' which also happens to be November 1st, which would make Bonfire Night, the 5th, on Saturday, which is not next week, but the same week.
    • Wait... Voldemort is defeated for the first time on All Hallow's Eve? Deathly Hallows? Mind = blown.
    • Vernon Dursley probably tries as hard as he can not to ever think about Halloween, given its association with the occult. He can't even bring himself to use the word "wizard" in his internal monologues that same day.

    A Stone in Flamel's Hand is Worth None in the Mirror 

  • How does Flamel get the stone out? It's established that he'll die without the elixir, so he logically must take the stone out from time to time. Yet, the spell prevents anybody who actually wants to use it from getting it (which is a stupid method of security btw), and if Quirrell was unable to get it (as he planned to give it to his master), then Flamel shouldn't be able to obtain it by sending somebody to get it for him either.
    • Dumbledore probably knows the counterspell. Not to mention that he didn't want to live forever, anyway.
    • It was his masterpiece, so Flamel himself could probably retrieve it from the Mirror by longing to hold and admire his prize creation again.
    • The stone was only put into the mirror by Dumbledore at the beginning of the school year. Before that, it was in a vault at Gringotts, so it would have been easily accessed by Flamel. As for Flamel needing it after it was put in the mirror, I'm guessing that either 1) Dumbledore knew a counterspell (as stated above) or 2) Dumbledore, in his very near omniscience, guessed what would happen with Harry and thus knew that Flamel wouldn't need the stone again.
    • I think Flamel wanted to die. He was six hundred and sixty five years old!
    • Dumbledore says he and his wife were ready to die in the first book after living so long.
    • It was said that Flamel and his wife had some put aside; who's to say they didn't have enough for the school year stocked up? After the end of the term, the castle would be essentially empty, and they could safely retrieve more for the next year.
    • The answer to your question is right there in the book. The Stone had been in a Gringotts vault. Once it went to Hogwarts, Flamel and his wife were living off Elixir they'd set by. Harry got the Stone out of the Mirror & it ended up in his pocket. When Dumbledore rescued Harry, he presumably took custody of the Stone. The Stone was then destroyed (somehow) before Harry woke up in the hospital wing. Flamel and his wife still have enough elixir remaining to "set their affairs in order" and then they will die. And they're okay with that.
    • Uh, what? You're implying that Dumbledore destroyed the stone himself. It's a bit more sensible to assume that it got destroyed during the fight between Harry and Voldemort-Quirrell.
    • Um, Dumbledore outright states that the stone survived the battle between Harry and Quirrell and that Flamel elected to destroy it so that it wouldn't fall into evil hands.
    • Only in the movie, in the book he just says it was destroyed, but makes not mention of when, how or by who.
    • The rule was that someone who wanted to find the stone but not use it could get it out of the mirror. Presumably Dumbledore could have retrieved it for Flamel if he decided he needed it, since Dumbledore himself wouldn't have wanted to use it.
    • Wanting to give the stone to someone else can't be the solution to retrieving it, else Quirrell would've gotten it when the Mirror showed him presenting it to his master.
    • Dumbledore probably wouldn't even need a counterspell. Being that he put the stone in the mirror, he probably designed some sort of backdoor. He could well have just walked up to the mirror, looked at his reflection, and said "Give me the stone, you barmy old codger."
    • Have to make a correction here.. the stone WAS NOT in the mirror before Chirstmas..since remember Harry sees the mirror on Christmas night? Since if the stone HAD been in the mirror before Christmas..what would have been the point of Fluffy, Devil Snare, the key-birds, Chess, the troll and the Potions protection.
    • Hey, makes for a good distraction. If you were looking for an important magical artifact, where would you look; at the back of a closely guarded gauntlet or in a side room in some corner of the castle?
    • Although... perhaps they needed time to set up their protections, which explains why the teachers didn't seem extremely concerned when Quirrel informed them of the troll.
    • If that was the case, why were ALL the Hogwarts students told that the "Third floor coordinator is out of bounds" at the START of the year? That to me implies that with the exception of Dumbledore's contribution, all the protections were already in place (and I think the stone might have just be laying on the floor of where we find the MOE later
    • Could be that just Fluffy was in place at the time. That's all that would be needed to make that corridor deadly.
    • Flamel had all he needed to for the year. It's stated at the end of the book at he and his wife have some elixir set aside.

    There's Only Power, And Those Too Weak To Seek It... Oh Yeah, and There's Me... 
  • If "there is only power and those too weak to seek it", then where do people who DO grasp it fit in? Do they become power?
    • You're trying to make sense of the words of a man who willing allowed a face to magically appear on the back of his head?
    • It's a mantra/slogan. It's not meant to be taken literally, but to embody the idea of his philosophy in an short, elegant, and forceful way. You know how poets get poetic license to make their poems sound better? Same thing here.
    • "I am power incarnate" does sound like the sort of thing a Death Eater would say.
    • Especially the sort of thing that the founder and leader of the Death Eaters would say.
    • Just don't think of it. Trying to make sense of the thoughts of the insane will only drive you into insanity.
    • Those who "grasp it" and shed all the annoying fetters of "good" and "evil" in the process become powerful. From his point of view, power is an end — the ultimate end — in and of itself; things like morals, empathy, and remorse only get in the way, and are fittingly only held by the weak. (This kind of thing becomes a lot easier when you write off people who don't think like you as beneath notice.)

    Stone-Cold Voldemort 
  • How was the Philosopher's Stone supposed to help Voldemort regain his body? He's neither alive nor dead and has no body to age or die, so what exactly is the Elixir of Life going to do for him?
    • The stone has other properties, such as being able to make gold. Maybe one of its properties would allow him to regain his body (or, rather, grow a new one) somehow?
    • Maybe he was going to make himself a body out of pure gold. Well, ''I' would have, at any rate.
    • A body of pure gold would be ineffective, inefficient, Easy to destroy, very conspicuous (If his plan was always to hide in the shadows and slowly take over), and immobile, at that.
    • Goldemort, anyone?
    • Well, if the Philosopher's Stone can give Al a body when he's just a soul...
    • He could use the elixir to reanimate a corpse and inhabit it, perhaps?
    • Actually, there already is a way to do that in-universe: inferi. And Voldemort already made a lot of those. Presumably Voldy wanted something better than an animated corpse.
    • I always imagined that the elixir would become part of a regeneration potion, much like what Voldy eventually cooks up in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
    • In real life alchemy, the transmutation of lesser metals into gold symbolizes the soul of the alchemist reaching perfection and purity. The Stone would strengthen Voldemort's soul enough to allow him to completely take control of Quirrell's body.
    • He would drink it using his face on the back of Quirrell's head and grow a new body starfish-like out of Quirrell's body in a gruesome fashion.
    • Maybe the Stone would have been just the first step towards a new body. V might have been immortal, thanks to his Horcruxes, but also extremely weakened. Hence his need for unicorn blood. A regular supply of Elixir would have solved that problem.

    The Most Muddled Halloween Ever 
  • The timeline of the first chapter of the first book bugs me. Voldemort is first destroyed on the evening of Halloween 1981 (Book 7 shows that the murder wasn't that late, as there were still children trick or treating around). The book begins on the next day, November 1st, and follows Vernon's day. From the morning, wizards everywhere are aware of what's happened, and that Harry survived the killing curse. Not only that, but McGonagall learns from Hagrid that Harry is to be moved to Privet Drive and makes her way there in cat form before Vernon goes to work. Hagrid only arrives with Harry in his arms after midnight on November 2nd, over 24 hours (and probably close to 30) after the attack. Hagrid says he came straight from the Potter house, where he snatched Harry before the Muggles could gather around the partially destroyed house (meaning he got Harry sometime during Halloween night). What the fuck took him so long to deliver Harry to Privet Drive? Over 24 hours? On a flying motorcycle? Even a normal one wouldn't have taken that long! Why wouldn't Dumbledore send members of the Order who could apparate to get Potter and deliver him? Or in a pinch, ask McGonagall; she clearly had nothing else planned for the day, as she spent it sitting next to the Dursleys' house.
    • How would Muggles even see the Potters' house anyway? They can't see it in book 7, and it still is under the Fidelius charm, as Peter is still alive.
    • That wasn't the Fidelius, it was a concealment set up by the Ministry to preserve the ruins as a memorial to the Potters. How else could the Ministry have put up a sign commemorating their deaths? Peter presumably let the Fidelius lapse after his escape, so Sirius couldn't prove his innocence by demonstrating that he wasn't the Secret-Keeper.
    • This one Just Bugged the Harry Potter Lexicon too.
    • Perhaps the Secret wasn't where the Potters' house was, but the fact that these were the wizarding Potters. If James and Lily wanted to buy food, take baby Harry to a hospital if he gets sick, and so on, it could've been more convenient to pass themselves off as Muggles than to conceal their physical location. Lily was Muggle-born and knew how to live safely among her parents' kind, so they used Peter as a Secret-Keeper for the fact that they weren't just another British family with the "Potter" surname. A hundred Death Eaters could've passed by the house and noticed its "Potter" mailbox, yet seen only an uninteresting Muggle family when they peered in the windows to check.
    • Who, being Death Eaters, they would have murdered for shits and giggles anyways. Why do you assume that the Death Eaters would be leaving random Muggles alone at the height of Voldemort's power? I mean, Voldemort blew up some innocent Muggles just because he stopped by their house by accident while looking for the guy he was trying to kill at one point in Deathly Hollows!
    • Or looked in the phone book under "Potter", since we typically don't put names on our letterboxes here.
    • Deatheaters, being mostly arrogant purebloods, probably wouldn't know a phone book if they saw one, let alone try and look up a name in it.
    • About the wizards knowing what happened as fast as it did, remember a few things. Wizards have near instantaneous communication thanks to apparitions and the floo network. Owls have been flying to and fro during the day, presumably informing a lot more people. The wizarding community in the UK seems to be both small and tight-knit (notice that EVERY adult wizard and witch in the books seems to know each other, unless they happen to be foreign). Finally, news of something this huge would spread like wildfire. Given all of those factors, I wouldn't be surprised if news traveled across UK wizards as fast as it did on the Internet, and 24 hours is plenty of time around here to find out pretty much anything major that's out in the open.
    • I'm fine with Wizards hearing the news that fast. Heck, Muggles would have had news travel as fast, if not faster. I'm bugged by what happens to Harry during those 24 hours...
    • Sirius probably took him to watch the horse races while the Order tried to figure out what to do with Harry. Then he realized "oh shi- it was Pettigrew", and handed his godson and motorcycle off to Hagrid.
    • Except Hagrid's own account of the meeting in book 3 says the meeting was short, with Sirius giving Hagrid his bike. Also, Sirius already knew that Wormtail was the traitor, as he came to the Potters' house after realizing Peter wasn't home.
    • Sirius didn't have Harry. Hagrid had Harry, but not the bikem when they met. Hagrid says in PoA that Sirius wanted him to give the baby to him.
    • It's possible that Dumbledore told Hagrid to hide somewhere safe and meet him the next night at the Dursleys', while Dumbledore spent that day putting up the protective charms around their house and getting other various things in place (possibly getting Ms. Figg moved into the neighborhood?) so that everything was set so that Harry was fully protected the instant the Dursleys took him in.
    • Also, there seems to be a little confusion relating to Dudley's age (or Harry's). It's stated in the book that Harry is only a month younger than Dudley, yet Dudley is described as being old enough to walk and talk relatively well (Quote: "...kicking his mother all the way up the street, demanding sweets"- not baby steps and the occasional "mama"). On the exact same day, Harry is a tiny baby swarthed in blankets, despite being a year old.
    • I always assumed the "kicking his mother all the way up the street" was far from literal (although now I see that it probably meant kicking her shins as they went up the street), and that Dudley's repertoire could easily have been as small as "mama", "da", "wanna!", and "swee'!" (since he wouldn't necessarily have needed any grammar beyond shouting until he got candy or whatever he was pointing at). I've seen a one-year-two-month-old capable of all that, and Dudley would actually have been a year and four months if I'm correct in the knowledge that V-V Day was at the end of October. On Harry's side, Hagrid was carrying a sleeping Harry, which combined would make him seem much smaller and less aware (and therefore younger) than he really was, and Dudley got his size from Vernon (certainly not from Petunia unless it was a bunch of recessive things, and we see from Marge that being large runs in that family) while Harry's parents were not noted to be of unusual size.
    • This troper began crawling when she was eight months old, did that for about a week, and then started walking. By her first Halloween, she was running, and she was born in Decemeber (ten months old). So, it's totally possible for a fourteen-month-old.
    • Also, as is shown in the photograph in Deathly Hallows, Harry was developed enough to be riding around on a toy broomstick before his parents' death.
    • Considering how he had just survived an unsurvivable curse, baby Harry was probably being checked over by a wizarding pediatrician in the interim, to make sure he was all right and to tend to that nasty wound on his forehead.
    • Seems doubtful there are wizard pediatricians, considering that preventative maintenance seems to be a foreign concept to them. Even in school, they seem to only go see healers when there's already something wrong with them.
    • Considering that at that time, only Voldemort died, and as news traveled fast in the wizarding community, it's very possible that the Death Eaters all knew of their Dark Lord's death, especially when they have that dark mark on their wrists practically giving this detail away. It'd be common sense that the more loyal Death Eaters probably would have gone to find the person who killed Voldemort to enact revenge. At that time, Dumbledore probably had Harry kept in a safehouse of some sorts, until he felt it was safe enough to allow Hagrid to take Harry to the Dursleys. Also, they probably had to set up a number of false leads to prevent any Death Eater from trying to follow Harry's trail, or at least deceive them long enough until an Auror could capture them and send them to Azkaban.
    • Or Hagrid went to Godric's Hollow, got Harry, and started going to Privet Drive all on foot, and Sirius intercepted him en route.
    • This seems the most likely, since Hagrid isn't a fully-qualified wizard and we never see him Apparate during the series. (When he flew out to the Hut on the Rock later, he probably meant "flew on a Thestral".) Then again, why would he try to walk from Godric's Hollow (in the West Country) to Surrey (near London)?
    • Maybe he was planning to take a bus.
    • Night Bus, anyone?
    • Is it that much of a stretch to say that Hagrid might have just gotten lost, and it took him a day to find the Potter house? Sure, he said he came straight there, but he could've been covering for himself.
    • Except that Dumbledore arrived at Privet Drive mere minutes before Hagrid did, which would imply Dumbledore knew when to expect Hagrid. Then again, this is Dumbledore...
    • Peter's Secret-Keeper charm hadn't lapsed just yet. It probably took a bit for the charm to fade/need to be renewed. It's possible no one noticed the house was blown up because no one could see the house that wasn't told by Peter. And then later the next evening, when people started to notice, Hagrid came and grabbed Harry. Yes, it's not exactly a pleasant thought that Harry sat around in his crib with his mother's dead body lying in front of it all day, but that's what seems to fit the best.
    • It's also possible that Dumbledore had Harry for those twenty-four hours, and then put him back in order for Hagrid to pick him up. Remember, Dumbledore knew at the end of Goblet of Fire that he was going to arrange Harry's death (the gleam of triumph when he learned Voldemort's new body could serve as a life-support system). When did he find out Harry was a Horcrux and would need to be killed? Why not in the missing twenty-four hours? It's not like he couldn't guess that Voldemort would want to live forever, or that he'd want to use a significant death to make his Horcrux (Dumbledore assumed Voldemort would only make one at this point), and what would be more significant than his prophesied nemesis? Dumbledore shows up on the scene, uses the magic radar powers he pulls out of his ass in Half-Blood Prince, and detects the soul-fragment on Harry.
    • Dumbledore needed time to arrange Harry's home with the Dursleys. It was Dumbledore asking Petunia to care for Harry which put his protective charm in place. By allowing him to stay in her home, however begrudgingly, meant Voldemort couldn't touch him there.
    • Perhaps they didn't know where the Dursleys lived and it took them a day to find out where they lived (couldn't just Google it in 1981). Alternatively, perhaps they decided to observe the Dursley household to make sure no Death Eaters showed up before deciding it was a safe place to deposit the baby Harry.
    • Presenting an alternate theory here: Hagrid was coming immediately from Godric's Hollow, at least as far as he knew! Take into account the Chekhov's gun from book 3. How was Hermione going to all her classes again? By time travel! This theory is explored in much greater detail Here.

    Lily Potter - First Loving Mother Ever? 
  • Could it really have been unusual that a person threw him/herself in front of another to save their life? I know it's a brave thing, but to an extent, any mother might have done that. Are we meant to believe that there are no other cases of this happening?
    • Maternal instinct. Mammalian species that lack it are very likely to wind up extinct. Seriously...
    • This has been covered before on the other Just Bugs Me areas. Voldemort had, prior to attacking the Potters', agreed that he wasn't going to kill Lily and would spare her if possible. Thus, why he tells her to step away from Harry. The fact that she voluntarily sacrifices herself in exchange for Harry, rather than being targeted from the start, is what saves Harry. If Voldemort had been out for her from the beginning, it's highly possible we wouldn't have a story.
    • I still don't know if that does it. I mean, c'mon, wizarding history is thousands of years old, and in all that time, even something that marginally more specific has never happened?? So, just to name one kind of example, in all those countless wizarding wars, no one ever suddenly voluntarily jumped onto the proverbial grenade for someone else?! And so on.
    • It's entirely possible it has happened before, but there were vastly different circumstances. For one, the caster of the killing curse probably didn't use a Horcrux, meaning that the caster just died. It's probably not a famous case because it happened to no one important, or in the worst case scenario, the person saved died because no one found them in time, plus no witnesses to what exactly happened. Walking in on the scene, you'd see three dead bodies: two killed by the killing curse and one dead from starvation. You wouldn't think someone sacrificed themselves for the child and a rare magical rule took the life of the murderer, but rather a murder-suicide over a child's forgotten body.
    • Good point. Even replaying the sequence of events from the killer's wand would only reveal that the murderer's own wand had finished both curse-victims off.
    • Living Memory!Riddle in Chamber is pleased when Harry tells him that it was Lily's love that saved him - it validates Voldemort's belief in Harry having no special ability against him, in and of himself. If Riddle knew about The Power of Love vis-a-vis magical protection, it's safe to say that this kind of thing has happened before, albeit rarely. Hell, the Department of Mysteries had the Love room - it's probably just uncommon enough that this exact type of situation would occur.
    • For that matter, if it hadn't happened before, Dumbledore himself probably wouldn't have been certain as to why Harry had survived.
    • Harry's reflecting of the curse left a lightning scar on his head. Perhaps similar cases also left a scar, and Dumbledore has been researching them to figure out why these victims are always dead from starvation instead of being killed and have with a scar on their body. Then Harry lives and Dumbledore starts to put together his theory that Lily's love did it.
    • You're misinterpreting the situation required for the magic. There has to be an actual sacrifice involved. Just getting killed or jumping in the way isn't enough. Voldemort was not going to kill Lily, he outright offered her the chance to stand aside and not die so she chose to die when she wasn't going to, she made an actual sacrifice. It wouldn't work for other mothers because Voldemort would have been ready or willing to kill them anyway. That's also why Harry's sacrifice works in the same way in the last book, because Voldemort made the offer to come and die and he'll leave everyone else alone.
    • A follow up and something I believe I read on another Headscratcher page. Voldemort did not intend to kill Lily when he went. He told her that if she stands aside she'll live while he kills Harry. This was a deal, and Lily sacrificed herself for Harry. This sacrifice and the deal beforehand is what gave Harry his protection. Sorry if I'm making little sense but I read it ages ago and it's a bit foggy.
    • This. The magic most likely would not have worked had Voldemort intended to kill Lily regardless. Lily had the option of stepping aside and living her life, but actively chose to die rather than give up her son. The situation could easily have happened before, but one must remember that the Wizarding World is much smaller than the Muggle World- the smaller population ensures it would be more rare than it would be with a population as large as ours, if one considers that the magic may not work for Muggles. Still, Dumbledore had to have gotten the idea of what happened from somewhere, and Voldemort absolutely knew about it. ... Does no one else, by the way, think it ironic that if Snape hadn't requested Voldemort to spare her, he wouldn't have offered to let her live, thus causing the Love Magic to potentially not work? So that, in a roundabout way, it was Snape who really caused it?
    • Lily's and Harry's sacrifices have more than one thing in common, which may set them apart from otherwise similar situations in wizarding history: not only they willingly sacrificed themselves for someone else after being given a choice, they also elected not to fight back. I think that too was it. Harry points out that he didn't defend himself and Dumbledore replies that it "will have made all the difference". The same went for Lily, but not for James, who went against Voldemort with "aggressive intentions" (albeit without a wand); and who wouldn't, really. But it was the fact that both Harry and Lily sacrificed themselves and did so completely unarmed and with no aggressive intentions whatsoever, which made them into a kind of absolute defence.
    • Two things about this. First is that Snape told Dumbledore in DH "Prince's Tale" chapter that Voldemort intended to kill all three Potters, including Lily. This is why Snape wanted to protect Lily from Voldemort so the argument that Voldemort didn't intend to kill Lily is incorrect. He simply gave her a choice at the time, though whether he would have kept her alive is unknown. Second is that the same sacrifical protection was given to the Order and DA members who were fighting the DEs in DH after Harry sacrificed himself, in part, for them and I am pretty sure Harry was not given any choice to live or die.
    • Voldemort intended to kill Lily UNTIL Snape begged him not to. As such, by the time Voldemort actually arrived and when he encountered Lily, he was intending to allow her to live. And Harry was given a choice to live or not, or at least a choice to run away or walk out unarmed in front of a guy he knew was going to kill him, and he allowed it to happen without resisting.
    • Who says it hasn't happened before? But like someone else said, Voldemort split his soul and couldn't be killed. In every other case, the person giving the killing curse did in fact die after and weren't evil Overlords looking to take over the world. Combined with Lily having been given a choice and the Love protection was probably rare, but still occasionally happened. The cases probably didn't get as much press because the people who lived didn't have a Dark Lord trying to kill them, just an average everyday run-of-the-mill killer, and thus lived fairly normal lives without an adventure a year afterwards.

    Dumbledore's Gone? Everyone Panic! 
  • In HBP, a big to-do is made when Harry needs to talk to Dumbledore, and he's off traveling (really collecting memories). In the very beginning, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid are all delivering baby Harry to the Dursleys. Did nobody notice that RIGHT AFTER THE FALL OF VOLDEMORT, when the Death Eaters were still pretty strong (the ones who weren't hiding or trying to convince everyone that they were under the Imperius Curse), the two highest-ranking school officials and the fairly Badass groundskeeper are all gone? What if a student has an emergency- McGonagall was Head of House back then, wasn't she? Later books imply that she's pretty much always able to come to the rescue, whether it's Harry having nightmares/visions or Ron nearly getting attacked by a convicted murderer with a foot-long knife.
    • Special circumstances. At the height of Voldemort's power, there wouldn't be weak defenses protecting the castle, even if Dumbledore was absent from the school. Most Death Eaters were confused and probably very disorganized during the first 24 hours in which their leader was defeated, and wouldn't be willing to strike anywhere without gathering the truth on what happened to Voldemort (which is why the attack on the Longbottoms is inferred to be a few weeks or even months later, with loyal Death Eaters looking for information on Voldemort). Most people underestimate the other teachers (especially the heads of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff) who no doubt would have been able to pick up the slack if there was an emergency, and Dumbledore would definitely made arrangements for such an event.
    • It probably didn't take the teachers too long to get there and back, what with Floo Powder or Apparation.
    • McGonagall was there in front of the Dursley house for an entire day before Dumbledore arrived.
    • Yeah, but she could have gone back to Hogwarts if the need arose. Which it didn't.
    • It seems likely that, with Voldemort down, the DE weren't organized because there WAS no 'deputy' in place to fall back upon. Voldemort's quest for immortality obviously made him think he was already invincible, so the DE were probably in confusion at this point. I agree that it seems silly that the adult protection of the school just up and left at this time... particularly since it seems likely that the Longbottoms were being tortured to insanity while they were chillaxing around the Dursleys, since Bellatrix & co. went after them right after Voldemort fell to torture answers out of them.
    • Keep in mind, they are at war against the most powerful and evil wizard in history. Most likely, Hogwarts was protected by a ton of magic defenses and probably even a few Aurors. Any kind of attack could have been fended off long enough for a quick Apparation to get McGonagall and Dumbledore. Saying that the three not being there meaning that Hogwarts is undefended is like that the President is helpless because his two best Secret Service agents and his gardener are off for the day.
    • This, and Dumbledore probably didn't tell anyone he was leaving Hogwarts in any case. They didn't want Harry's location to be generally known any sooner than necessary, in case the remaining DEs found some way to circumvent the protections he'd had at the Dursleys'.
    • But there still would have been at least three other teachers behind at the school..Sprout, Flitwick and Snape (who I believe was probably the newest professor there) and maybe the Star teacher, Muggle-studies teacher (before Quirrel)..since Quirrel only taught Muggle Studies for one year (probably 1989 is when Quirrel taught it since he took a year off?),, The then-DADA teacher, the runes teacher, and the magical numbers teacher. So even if Dumbledore, Minvera and Hagrid were away..there were still a bunch of people on hand to fight..if needed to be.
    • Don't forget the Care of Magical Creatures teacher before Hagrid.
    • Snape wasn't a teacher when Harry died. Slughorn was still the Potions Professor at the time.
    • it's seems to be implied that Slug-horn retired the same year as Harry became the "Boy Who Lived" and Ginny Weasly was born in 1981. So it is possible for Snape to have began teaching as potions teacher that same year.
    • Hogwart's was not in great danger - at least, no greater than anywhere else. At that point the Death Eaters' principal opposition and biggest target was the Ministry of Magic. Note that when they did gain control of Hogwart's sixteen years later, the Death Eaters' impulse was to "reform" it rather than going on a rampage.
    • We have little idea what Hogwarts was like at the height of the war anyway. We know Dumbledore would likely have been involved in the fighting, and presuming Snape was an instructor, can't remember how that timeline fits, he likely would have been missing now and again. In the early books the wizarding war is at peace and school needn't be interrupted. But in a time of war? War that had gone on for as long as that one did? I figure, they were just happy to still be able to hold classes, even if not everyone could be there all the time.
    • I highly doubt that Snape was a professor during his Death Eater days, as that would have made him look like Dumbledore's lackey back before he WAS Dumbledore's lackey. I believe that Dumbledore gave him the job so that he could keep an eye on Snape and simultaneously protect him.
it's seems to be implied that Slug-horn retired properly the summer of 1981 and that Snape took over during the fall of 1981.

    Hogwarts Sure is Roomy... 
  • Assuming roughly ten students per house, if Gryffindor is average, that's forty new kids a year. Which is about two hundred and eighty students total, in a castle with hundreds, if not thousands, of rooms. How much wasted space is that?
    • There was a period when the architects of Britain built ever more huge and grandiose homes at the behest of increasingly wealthy and self-indulgent aristocrats. No reason for wizards to be different: I'd imagine that every time Beauxbatons announced the construction of another tower, the British wizards would reply with, "Well, Hogwarts is getting an entire new floor!" Also explains some of the architectural insanities such as false doors, staircases that change destination, and classrooms that are only accessible by ladder.
    • Consider that the incoming class of Hogwarts students' parents just went through a brutally destructive war. It's entirely possible that Hogwarts current student roster was depleted because the population at large was depleted.
    • It's also possible that Harry's House simply had a disproportionately-high number of girls in it for that year, as we never actually learn how many roommates Hermione has.
    • For probably not the last time, Rowling admitted that she couldn't do the math, and that it was supposed to be more like some 750 students. And you are most likely severely overestimating the size of the castle, since the second-tallest tower was only seven stories at the top level. Even if the first three to five floors had the same sort of room density as the dungeon areas shown on the Maurauder's Map paper that came with the sixth movie 2-disc DVD set, which I highly doubt, it would still only be in the lower hundreds. The wizarding world had just been through two wars, and the post-war birthrate increase from the end of the Time of Death Eaters (if there was one) would only have just started affecting the population of Hogwarts around Harry's third and fourth year. Finally, there are explicitly and canonically a lot of empty rooms, and it's hinted to be Bigger on the Inside (and canonically has Chaos Architecture).
    • Actually, the 'highest tower' (if you mean Gryffindor Tower) was taller than 7 floors, because the Fat Lady's Portrait, at the entrance to the Common Room, was on the 7th floor. There were then stairs leading upwards to the dormitories.
    • The murder of Harry's parents ended one of the bloodiest wars in wizard history. Considering that they were in a state of war, there was probably a significantly reduced birthrate as couples avoided having children or were killed. So Harry's class is likely much smaller than the average incoming group of 1st years.
    • This makes the most sense to me. The rise in the war would cause Harry's year, and several above (not to mention the one or two years directly below, since Harry's a year old and a half old when Voldemort attacked him and it takes 9 months for a baby to be born) were probably all fairly small years. Following this, three years below Harry probably saw a big population boom. Every tried counting the number of birth's 9 months after a big, celebrate-worthy event? Very common for the birth rate to be high.
    • Rowling invented only ten specific characters per house, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other red shirts in the background, as the text repeatedly indicates. The actual number of students is never given in the text, and Rowling has repeatedly given numerous contradictory answers in interviews. It is probably best left unanswered.
    • IIRC, during Harry's first match with Slytherin, it's mentioned that there a couple hundred of Slytherin supporters. For this to be true (and not Harry exaggerating), it would mean that there's either a couple hundred students in each house or the Slytherin end of the stadium was packed with family and other supporters not attending Hogwarts. Other options (such as most of the school supporting Slytherin, or Slytherin being much larger than the other houses) are contradicted by the text.
    • You sort of just answered your own question there: this is from the point of view of a 9 or 10 year old boy, about to play his first game against a team he vehemently dislikes, in front of all of his peers. Might it just seem like there's hundreds of people watching? First time jitters, and whatnot?
    • I believe people frequently underestimate not only the student body of Hogwarts but the size of the pureblood community in Wizard United Kingdom as well. JKR really liked to highlight the pureblood wizard families that have died out at least through paternal lines or are down to a few, if any, heirs. She possibly did this to explain why so many pureblood families support Voldemort and the racist fervor running so strong in the Wizard World. Not to mention there is something of a 'hidden' middle class in the Wizarding world of descendants of muggleborn wizards. AKA those from a family of wizards but not yet considered a 'pure' family. JKR did not even really touch on that population at all.
    • I choose to explain it as a result of the Chaos Architecture. The castle is like a fungus; living but not sentient, just moving, rearranging, and, most importantly here, growing.

    Who needs the stone? 
  • Why didn't LV just use the same way to resurrect himself he used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? He had the flesh of a servant, and apparently he wasn't that fixated on Harry Potter back then to not use some other enemy for the blood.
    • Perhaps he saw the stone as a more permanent and reliable method of returning. Plus with the stone he'd also get true immortality and all the gold he needs for wherever his lust for power goes. Sure he could have got the stone after returning but perhaps he was still hoping to remain under the radar to make retrieving the stone easier.
    • Voldemort himself answers this in Goblet: "There was no hope of stealing the Philosopher's Stone anymore, for I knew that Dumbledore would have seen to it that it was destroyed. But I was willing to embrace mortal life again, before chasing immortality. I set my sights lower... I would settle for my old body back again, and my old strength."
    • Oh, thanks for reminding of yet another Headscratcher (boy, do these things multiply like roaches!). What the hell is all that supposed to mean? What "mortal life", what "chasing immortality"? V was immortal, thanks to the Horcruxes. His body could still be destroyed, it turned out, but, the Stone was only supposed to expand his life-span (and give him back his body through some undefined mean), not render him invulnerable or even enhance his powers, so how was it any better, and what would it give him that he already didn't have? The gold? What for? Should he return, he'd have the funds of Malfoy and, possibly, other rich Death Eaters at his disposal and anyway, his prime instrument was terror, not gold. Hell, DD himself admits that the stone was not a permanent solution - you have to drink the Immortality Potion regularly, and if the stone is stolen, you're screwed. In his own words: "He [LV] would use the Stone to get back his body and then rely on Horcruxes to keep him alive". That makes sense. V's aforementioned words or his behavior in PS don't.
    • As we're shown in the series horcruxes can be destroyed and render the "immortality" they grant worthless. Having the stone would be another reliable method for him as he can always carry it on his person (having two methods of immortality are better than one after all). The gold is an additional source of revenue and not much more, but it is an added plus.
    • So can the Stone be destroyed. So can he carry a Horcrux with him, but he can also hide it in the most out-of-reach place ever, which he cannot do with the Stone. Besides, V clearly considered the possibility of loosing the Horcuxes all but non-existant (Hey, if others can use this shitty excuse, then so can I!)
    • Yes, the stone can be destroyed but like I said that's why you have back ups in the form of horcruxes for your immortality. We don't know how often you have to take the elixir of life so perhaps he could hide it in an out of reach spot and only visit it every month or so. I believe Tom thought that the idea of loosing his horcruxes to be non-existent because he thought no one knew about them. People know about the philosopher's stone so he can use his horcruxes as a back up for the stone in case someone intentionally sets out to destroy it. Besides if he boasts that he's immortal only because of the stone and it's destroyed people won't automatically assume he has a back-up source of immortality until it's too late.
    • Why. What's the point. Why bother with the stone that he needs to visit every month or so to expand his life-span, when it is already infinite thanks to the Horcruxes that DO NOT require visiting them every month or at all, that he already has several of, and that nobody is supposed to know about? It's just pointlessly redundant! Seriously, calling the Horcruxes back up to the Stone is like calling your battle tank a back up to your sword. "If he boasts...people won't automatically presume..." - yes, because the fact that he survived the destruction of his body even WITHOUT the stone will certainly not clue them, right? Not to mention, what the hell should he care? He's the (second) most powerful sorceror in the world, defeating him in a duel is all but impossible and even then the Stone wouldn't save him anyway, like the Horcruxes did. In all possible ways the Stone seems just inferior to what he already has. So why risk entering the domain of his arch-nemesis and risk loosing his only servant to obtain it, when he could use Quirrel to return into flesh quietly and inconspicuously and maybe THEN send him after the Stone, if he still wanted it so badly.
    • Because it's quite clear that horcruxes do nothing to protect his body. He was stuck possessing rats and snakes and crappy DADA teachers for ten years. The Horcruxes anchor his soul to the land of the living, but a philosopher's stone would give him an eternally-healthy, young, powerful body to, you know, actually do stuff. And if he had that stone hidden in a safe location, he'd presumably be able to make himself a new body as soon as he was killed again.
    • Neither would the Stone protect his body in such occasionnote . So it all boils down to the prospect of resurrection, which (surprise!) brings us back to my original point, i.e. he didn't need the Stone for that either. He had the much more convenient "Bone&Flesh&Blood" method available that didn't require him to break into high-security institutions, cross his arch-nemesisnote  and risk being exposed and loosing his only servant. Sure, maybe the Stone could be used repeatedlynote , and maybe the BFB could only be used once, so maybe procuring the Stone in general was a good ideanote , but in the immediate circumstances of PS it doesn't make any sense.
    • It's never actually stated that the Stone wouldn't protect his body. Most concepts of immortality include regeneration, so it's not hard to assume that someone who drinks the Elixir regularly will have any wounds heal quickly and without any lasting damage.
    • It's stated by DD, that V would use the Stone only for resurrection, so apparently no. And again, it is already nearly impossible to wound him due to his sheer magical power and skill. DD himself didn't manage to.
    • As I've already said I don't object to the idea of procuring the Stone in general, but it's painfully obvious that V should have had Quirrel safely revive him through BFB, which didn't require him to break into high-security institutions, cross his arch-nemesis and risk being exposed and loosing his only servant, and then send him after the Stone. He didn't. Why.
    • It is generally not a good idea to advertise to your enemies that you have immortality jars, so the "mortal life/chasing immortality" bit might have been deliberate misdirectionnote  Also, the BFB ritual may not have existed before Harry's 4th year. Voldy might have had to come up with it on his own, or adapt another ritual that served a similar-but-different purpose, because how often do you think shades come back to life? Horcruxes are supposed to be super-rare.
    • Enemies, sure, but he's sputtering that gibberish in front of his cronies, who all know that he'd existed as the "meanest of ghosts" before Pettegrew revived him, so there was really no sense in "misdirection" at that point. As for the second part, V calls BFB "an old piece of Dark Magic" and doesn't say anything about adapting or changing it, so no.
    • Maybe it's just me, but if I were the overlord of a gang of spiteful, racist, amoral magicians and had just cheated death before their eyes, I wouldn't give that pack of treacherous sycophants the slightest clue of the true secret to my immortality.
    • It's not about the secret of his immortality, but rather him talking about "being content with mortal life" right after he admits that he had survived being killed. The ruse, if any was intended, is kinda pointless after you admit that.
    • Maybe the Bone-Flesh-Blood ritual only gives you a half functioning body; maybe Voldy would have remained in the form of a weird foetus, or a slightly improved but still Gollum-like version, had he not used Harry's blood. It's probably not that easy to come back from the afterlife. And maybe it took Voldemort that long to realize he needed the blood of that particular enemy, and the lily-power-of-love living inside, because he wasn't ready to acknowledge the importance of such a preposterous power. Word of God does imply that Lily's love played a great role in Voldemort's second lifeform and resurrection. So, the Stone would have been his only reasonable option in 1991.
    • If that was the case then Pettigrew wouldn't even bother suggesting it, because obviously V wouldn't go for it, if there was an altrenative. But from their argument in "Goblet" it incurs, that they could use a random enemy, and V only went after Harry, because (he thought) he needed to kill him, the Idiot Ball demanded that he does it personally and with AK, and therefore he needed a way to bypass the protection. But before the events of "Stone" he didn't know that the protection lingered and had no reason to use the kid.
    • Which is more convenient: a restorative potion that needs a sacrifice of bone, blood and flesh or one that can be readily made from an artifact in your or your servant's possession?
    • Hmm, let's see. They already got flesh, they can easily get bone, and obtaining blood will require kidnapping a random wizard that happened to suffer from the first war. On the other hand, getting said artifact in their possession will require infiltrating the domain of the most powerful wizard in the world, maintaining cover for an undertermined amount of time and navigating a whole gauntlet of obstacles, and even then there is no guarantee that the stone is even real, and a single mistake will mean the loss of the only servant V's got in a decade. Gee, that's a tough one, can I get a help line on this one?
    • Well, judging from the passage in Goblet, Voldy used up all of the bone, so with the ritual, he only had one shot at resurrection.
    • Which passage would be that? But regardless, so what? Even if he indeed had only one shot, he should've used it before sticking his (or rather Quirrel's) stupid head into DD's maw.
    • Voldemort had to work with the tools fate provided him. He was stuck in the forest, disembodied and almost helpless. Then, someone comes within his very limited sphere of influence, and he's able to take control of them. That someone just happens to be a teacher at Hogwarts, a very junior teacher at that, and one with almost no real-world experience and presumably not a huge amount of real-world magic experience either. He also learns that the Philosopher's Stone will be right there within the school, within what he thinks will be easy reach. He'll also have ready access to all of Hogwarts, including the Library, including the Restricted Section — this may well be where and when Voldemort *found* the BFB ritual that he was able to use later. We don't know whether Voldemort was hoping to get into his old Chamber of Secrets, or check up on the diadem, or make use of the Room of Requirement. Plus, there's the psychological factor — we know that being a teacher at Hogwarts was what Tom Riddle wanted desperately to do, and here was a chance at a little piece of that dream now, and the whole thing later if he took Quirrel's place. Even if he already knew about the BFB ritual, he may not have been able to proceed with it in the disembodied and then conjoined state he was in.
    • How do you equate "hidden withing the domain of his arch-nemesis and protected by the most talented wizards in the country" with "being within easy reach"? He couldn't have known in advance that the "protection" was designed as an obstacle course for a bunch of kids, could he? Even though he took part in its creation, he apparently didn't know about the other parts, otherwise there'd be no need for his ruse with the troll. No, he never wanted to be a teacher - he wanted to use the position to influences the youth - DD says that much. The idea about finding the info on BFB in the library is good, but after he obtained that knowledge, what prevented him from using it? The stone (if it was even there) would not go anywhere, Quirrel could still go after it after V was ressurected, and there was no risk of loosing his only follower.
    • After he was defeated, Voldemort wound up right back where he started, except that he had information he hadn't had before, and he wasn't really able to do *anything* more until Wormtail came to him, bringing Bertha Jorkins and yet more useful information. This time he had a willing helper, one who was well-experienced in higher level magic (such as becoming an Animagus) and who brought Voldemort his own wand back to him. He was in a very different position, which enabled him to proceed with the BFB ritual. We still don't know exactly how Voldemort obtained the baby-body and that may well have been a necessary step for the BFB, one Quirrel may not have been up to.
    • "...information he hadn't had before" - like what? "..very different position..." - how? Wormtail was not well-experienced in anything. It was pretty obvious that he was a perpetual screw-up and other Marauders did all the work and just dragged him along, DD says that much. Bertha's knowledge had nothing to do with ressurection. V's wand wasn't used in the process, so it doesn't matter. V says that the baby-body was created with unicorn blodd and snake venom and some spells of his own invention. Quirrel has demonstrated that he can obtain the former, venom shouldn't have been a problem with V's affinity to snakes.
    • Maybe it's simply because Quirrel, as gullible and suggestible as he was, was not willing to give up his freaking hand and Voldemort was not in any position to force him to do so. Sure, I can see Quirrel surrendering real estate on the back of his head, but his own hand?
    • He was willing to condemn himself to a "horrible half-existence", whatever the hell that means, by drinking unicorn blood. Loosing a hand, especially since it could be so easily replaced, looks like a bargain in comparison.
    • The Horcruxes kept Voldemort's spirit from dying, but not his body. He was 71 years old when he died, and while he was a ghost for like 13 years, that still puts him in his 60s with a fair amount of damage to his body from dark magic. The Elixir of Life would not only make him physically immortal, it would also make him biologically immortal, complete with eternal youth. His quote in Goblet of Fire suggests that had he obtained the stone, he would have made a new body, presumably a 20-or-30-something version of Tom Riddle with HAIR and a NOSE. His eternal youth would also allow him to stay at the peak of his ability forever, AND he could give the Elixir out to his most loyal followers, as a "join me and live forever" carrot to his "join me or I will kill your face" stick. With the stone destroyed, he had to fall back on other plans.
    • Regaining body covertly and safely through the B&F&B ritual would not preclude him from seeking to procure the stone afterwards, but it would eliminate the danger of losing the only minion he had in a decade and being stuck in the ghost form again.
    • I assumed that he didn't know about the B&F&B spell at the time. As for why go after the stone; wasn't Quirrel alread a teacher? So if he's already living off Quirrel, and Quirrel is LV's only servant, and he just so happens to be a teacher at the place the stone is being kept, it could be a strike while the iron is hot situation. He may not have planned to go after the stone until he found out it was there, in the building he's living in. It may not have been the smartest place for him to hide in Hogwarts, but having Quirrel up and quit would look suspicious, not to mention Tom always saw Hogwarts as his home and it was often stated that he thought he was smarter than everyone else around him. Even going so far as to believe he knew more about Hogwarts than anyone else. It's possible he didn't think anyone was smart enough to realize he was there and was using Quirrel to research ways to get his body back, then he hears about the stone and thinks "well, I'm here, and I'm smarter than everyone else here so it's a great short cut." He'd spent 10 years in ghost form, he was probably a little impatient to get a body back and didn't completely think things through.
    • One also has to consider that although BFB has three obvious components, the fact that there's a full cauldron of liquid that those three things get dumped into implies that there's a potion of some sort that has to be brewed ahead of time, with the bone/flesh/blood getting added at the end. Maybe Voldemort couldn't get the lesser ingredients needed for said potion while he was busy pretending to be Quirrell at Hogwarts, and it wasn't until he was back out in the world with Pettigrew at his side that he had someone he could send to find those things. Until Peter came along, I doubt Voldemort would've trusted any of his other old cronies to do it for him; most of them had renounced their loyalties to him out of cowardice by then, and even Peter only got his trust because a) he had literally no other options by that point if he wanted to come back and b) because he knew Peter was terrified enough and desperate enough to do his bidding and not betray him.

     Shouldn't Harry be more affected by his neglect at the Dursleys' hands? 

  • Harry's lonely, he's been bullied, and he's got no friends, but he doesn't show any particular signs of trauma. No shyness, irritability, lack of scoial skills... the memories are there, yes, and they're awful ones, but after having been neglected by the Dursleys for nine years, wouldn't you think he'd be a bit more, well, maladjusted? Instead he gets to Hogwarts and makes friends with Ron and Hermione and everything's just peachy, in terms of his social adjustment. Not that I wanted him to be sitting in a corner crying or antying, but he doesn't seem to struggle settling in at all. He seems perfectly happy, as if those nine years had never happened.
    • If you want to pick the whole thing apart, then Harry actively makes friends with one boy and Hermione and Hagrid kind of get thrown in there. It takes him years to even partially start trusting or relying on anyone but the three of them, maybe Dumbledore too some of the way, and a bunch of near-death experiences to stop being afraid of the Dursleys. I'd say that in the beginning, he was too overwhelmed by awesomeness to angst, but it's all there.
    • Harry has low self esteem and is a bit insecure, and although it does get better throughout the series, it does effect him. It's also shown that he's really nervous about the school year (telling Ron on the train that he thinks he'll be the worst in the year, which had been "worrying him a lot lately", and his anxiety at the Sorting Ceremony (fearful of being sorted in front of the whole school, or of not being sorted at all).
    • And trust issues— he never confides in many people other than Ron and Hermione, and he keeps stuff from them, often, as well.
    • Could it not be that his mother's sacrificing herself for his sake protects him from the bad psychological effects of neglect? After all, it seems to protect him from an awful lot else.
    • Uhm, no, it couldn't. As noted above, the effects are in full effect.
    • I have my own theories on the "neglected for nine years" bit, but as to why he doesn't show more signs of the neglect and mistreatment, I have seen three different abuse victims all from the same house all affected at varying degrees. It's highly possible that Harry's one of those people that can adjust well. Some people can go through just a bit of abuse and be so horribly affected that it takes years for them to be able to live a healthy life, while others can go their entire life living in a proverbial hell and only have a handful of issues.
    • For what it's worth, Dumbledore actually points this out book 6. As he's explaining to Harry how his capacity for love is his greatest weapon against Voldermort, he notes how astounding it is that Harry is able to love at all, given his upbringing. I took this as Dumbledore's diplomatic way of saying, "Dude, I have no idea why you don't have some kind of attachment disorder right now. In fact, you should probably be a complete sociopath."
    • It's not uncommon in abuse victims to not be affected by their abuse until they hit puberty or adulthood. Like the poster above said, I think Harry's initial elation at being rescued (essentially) and given the opportunity to live a happy life at Hogwarts staved off any issues for several years but by the OOTP, clearly the PTSD and other signs of stress were showing in Harry, especially with the combined experiences of everything that happened at Hogwarts in the previous years.

     'Fear of a name...' 
  • One of Dumbledore's first lessons to Harry is to call He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named by his right name (Book 1), as 'fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.' Fair enough, but why not tell the boy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's actual name, rather than the false boogeyman name that he'd come up with later to make himself sound more important? - Something along the lines of "Harry, he was once a boy named Tom Riddle, who took on a false name later to make himself more mysterious" would have driven the lesson home. (Yes, I know that the 'reason' is that J.K. hadn't come up with that much backstory for Voldemort yet - didn't even know a sequel would be requested when she submitted the first book - but we're talking in-universe logic here...)
    • To explain this one, you need only look at the way Dumbledore operates. He wanted to protect Harry, so he taught him the name everyone knew. It wouldn't do any good for Harry to be running around referring to 'Tom Riddle' because no one knows who that is. After the Second War, I'm sure Voldy's real name was released to the public, but before it very few people knew his real name, Dumbledore being one of them. Thus, Harry would've sounded crazy talking about 'Tom Riddle' doing these things instead of 'Voldemort'. Granted, he sounded crazy anyway, but that's beside the point. Aside from the above, though, I don't think Harry would have fully understood it. The way he did it makes it more understandable.
    • Exceeeept, of course, that he could've explained all this to Harry, not to mention that Harry himself could've explained this detail to anybody who cared, and after the second book he knew both names, but it never caused any confusion, and what was there not to fully understand?
    • Yes, he could have explained but not without revealing more than he felt Harry was ready for. A lot more. Everything would've had to be given in detail. As to Harry explaining the detail to 'others who cared', I'd be willing to bet no one would've bothered to ask, they'd've written him off as a loon from the start.
    • "There was that wizard, called Tom Riddle, he became... bad. Took himself a new name...". Done. And, seriously? You would write off somebody as a loon if they as much as used a different name from the one you expected, without asking them what they meant?
    • And Dumbledore kept secrets like he breathed, right from the beginning, and never told anyone more than he absolutely had to, often until it was rather too late. Fat chance, him laying out Tom's back-story from the get-go. Additionally, Tom Riddle pretty well becomes Lord Voldemort. In a lot of ways, that is a truer name than Tom Riddle. He really isn't Tom Riddle, anymore. It's very much a case of "there once was a wizard, Tom Riddle". Harry has the unique "privilege" to have encountered temporally misplaced versions of the guy, versions that were still Tom, and so does eventually come to think of him by that name as well. But the thing we meet on the back of Quirrel's head is very far from the teenager we meet in the diary.
    • OP answered their own question. JK Rowling didn't know what Voldemort's real name was yet, end of debate.
    • The lesson wasn't about calling Voldemort by his real name, it was about not being afraid of a name or not using it because of fear. People weren't afraid of the name Tom Riddle, they were afraid of the name Voldemort, so using that name showed more bravery than using the real name.

    Why did the First Wizarding War end so abruptly? 
  • my point being, on october 30th of 1981 the war was still in full swing, with the light side losing, as Hagrid told. Now, on october the 31st, the first thing that is noticed by Vernon is large groups of wizards milling about in the streets, falling stars reported at Kent and later that evening Harry is already deposited with the Dursleys. First thing first. 1)The opening day of the first book is NOT Halloween its Nov.1st. Halloween was the night before. Harry is despoited sometime between 11pm Nov 1st and midmight on Nov 2. Shouldn't there still be other elements of Voldemort's army be fighting on? Not all of them are directly connected via the Dark Mark and several of them must operate independently from Death Eater coordination. Or would his forces constitute a Keystone Army?
    • Even if they didn't, it was still V's will and dread that united and drove them. His death threw them into disarray. Of course, it wasn't the end of the war, as at least some of them retaliated under Bellatrix. But it makes sense that people would still celebrate the death of the enemy leader whom they feared much more than all of his cronies combined.
    • There probably was still plenty of fighting and terrorism going on, we just weren't in a position to see it. Our POV is Britain, home of Voldemort's inner circle, Ministry of Magic, etc...Those Death Eaters would have been the first to know what had happened and the first to fall back.
    • Heck, for all we know, some of the Death Eaters might have been busy fighting each other for the opportunity to take Voldemort's place as the new Big Bad. Villains are like that.
    • The Death Eaters were mostly filled with Cowards who sided with the biggest bully in the yard. The biggest bully goes down, and their protection is gone. So with the defeat of their leader, they lost a good portion of their forces. The Wizarding community also no longer had to fear Voldemort, which meant that they didn't have to worry about drawing his wrath. It also meant that the Aurors were free to go after the ones that WOULD continue fighting. Making things worse for the death eaters was the fact that the non-cowards were so self-serving that they would rather preserve themselves than fight Voldemort's cause (which didn't matter to them that much in the first place, or they'd have never left a half-blood lead them). So I imagine that with the simple defeat of Voldemort at least 1/3rd of his forces, if not 1/2 was reduced with his defeat. And anyone not into self preservation was likely self-serving enough to fight over the mantle of who would be the next leader.
    • Voldemort, by virtue of being a selfish prick who cared about nothing except himself and believed that he was invincible, never appointed a second-in-command or made any form of plan as to what would happen in the event of his death. The crazy loyal Death Eaters also considered Voldemort dying to be impossible and were close to helpless without his direction (even the fairly competent Bellatrix could only pull off one act of random violence before being taken down) and the more self-interested ones (*coughLuciuscough*) probably scrammed as soon as they were sure that it was true. The Aurors and the Order of the Phoenix, on the other hand, still had their leadership and presumably went on the offensive, taking advantage of the Death Eaters' distraction and confusion to rip them apart. So while the fighting was not over by the time Dumbledore took Harry to the Dursleys, it had shifted from a two-sided war to a large-scale manhunt as the Aurors tracked down the enemy remnants.
    • The answer to this question is (surprisingly) common sense. The Death Eaters were unaware of Voldemort's Horcruxes, so for all they knew when their dark marks signaled his demise he was dead with no chance of coming back. This means that he would not be there to save them, and thus they had to save themselves when the ministry inevitably rounded them up. Discontinuing any hostilities and saying that "the Dark Lord kept them imperiused and now that he is dead they are finally free" was a much more sensible plan than just fighting and either dying or marking themselves as willing followers of the Dark Lord. Of course the Wizengamot could have pushed for veritaserum questioning or similar stuff, but they could have also declared that "clearly, even their pure blood could not protect them from the Imperius of He Who Must Not Be Named, because we know he was very powerful, so we should not upset those poor men who were forced to act against their will by questioning them further"; it is very probable that the bribes mentioned in the story went towards making the judges choose the latter option.
    • Nobody but Voldemort knew what the big plan was, without him they had no orders tp follow, no goals to pursue or even a decent command structure to keep organised.
    • Also remember that a lot of the important Death Eaters got caught pretty quickly after Voldemort's downfall. Karkaroff, Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, and Mulciber were all said to have high rank among the Death Eaters and were implied to have been arrested/killed at around the same time. Rookwood and many others were sold out by Karkaroff soon after. I'm guessing that this was around the time when the Malfoys, Avery, Nott, Macnair, etc. claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse. The text makes it seem as though the Lestranges and Crouch Jr. were the last of Voldemort's important supporters who hadn't been arrested, killed, or pleaded the Imperius Curse and they were only able to stay free for about a year at most after Voldemort disappeared.

    Pointless distractions? 
  • Quirell claims that he'd lured a troll into the castle as a distraction while he went to take a look at the stone's protection. As usual, the whole episode doesn't make any sense on numerous levels. First of all, distraction for whom? There was nobody at the door to the stone (cause, you know, a priceless artifact that somebody'd already tried to steal, doesn't need actual guards), everybody was in the hall, partying. And even if somebody was stationed at the door, it's on the third floor. How the hell would a troll in the dungeon or Quirell's announcement of it made in the hall distract them? Second, what was the point of sending the students to the dorms? How was that safer than keeping them in the hall? Moreover, it's a troll! A dumb, slow, highly conspicuous thing that a first-year dispatched in a minute. Just send some of the teachers to deal with it (and somebody else - to the door, just in case it was a distraction), and you don't even have to interrupt the party! Third, Snape got his leg mangled by Fluffy. Uhm, how? Why in the world would he go inside instead of simply guarding the door outside? Fourth. Why is Snape still limping and has a bloody leg several days/weeks after the incident? They can regrow bones, and he personally cured some nearly-mortal wounds afflicted by a dark curse, and yet he couldn't cure a few bites?! Barely Sensible.
    • Maybe Fluffy's saliva is poisonous, kinda like how Arthur Weasley's wounds from Nagini wouldn't close over? In Classical Mythology, Cerberus the three-headed dog was also part snake.
    • Quirell was supposed to be incompetent. I think he set it up to help further that illusion, as well as cause general chaos before sneaking off to the third floor to create plausible deniability in case he made a lot of noise or something (assuming he didn't know what he'd find up there). Presumably that's where he got the idea to use a troll for his defense, or he was trying to lure one in for Dumbledore to put down there later and "lost control" of it. PS doesn't make much sense if you think about it too much regardless.
    • Indeed it doesn't. "Chaos" lasted for the whooping few seconds before DD told everyone to shut up and return to their dorms in an orderly fashion. Meaning that whatever noise Quirell made, would be heard just as well.
    • Now that I think of it, what was the point of luring DD away when he went after the stone? Even if we assume Rowling didn't think of the Apparition by that point (and, of course, never looked back when she did), so the travel had to take him some considerable time, why bother? There either is some kind of system in the gauntlet that detects intruders and alarms people, or there isn't. If there isn't, then it doesn't matter if DD is in the castle (and it also means that the whole staff is brain-dead, so he has nothing to fear from them). If there is, then there's no way in hell DD would be the only one it is connected to, or at least that he wouldn't pass it to his deputies during his absence, and besides, it would have already detected him during the troll incident, so there obviously isn't one.
    • He lured Dumbledore away because let's face it, Dumbledore is the only Hogwarts staff member who Voldemort ever felt genuinely threatened by. True, he probably wasn't as magically powerful while relying on Quirrell as he would have been back in the day, but he still has considerable spell knowledge and combat experience for if any of the others caught on and came after him.
    • We eventually find out in Deathly Hallows that Dumbledore already suspected Quirrell. Perhaps Quirrell and Voldemort knew that Dumbledore was on to them and decided that it would be unsafe to attempt to steal the stone while he was in the castle. Dumbledore did seem to know exactly where to go as soon as he realized his summons to the Ministry were forged.

     Why make it solvable? 
  • So, the challenges that the teachers set up to protect the Stone... Why would they make it solvable at all? Most of the professors added a specific challenge, but they could all be solved, and relatively easily, since three first years could do it. If the idea was to protect the stone, and only let the Flamels use it occasionally, surely they could have made the challenges harder or semi impossible to solve (say, Snape not putting a riddle with the potions, or not putting the correct potion there at all) and then have the Flamels escorted by the professors to the Mirror.
    • Best answer I've heard is that they were solvable only as a lure. The robber would go through the rooms, solving each if they were clever, then finally would get stuck in the room with the Mirror with no way out. Then plenty of time for the teachers to head down there and arrest him.
    • What exactly would prevent the robber from leaving again?
    • The enchanted fire in the entrance. The potion they drank to pass through it wore off pretty quickly.
    • How do you know it did? Besides, there were two potions - one to go forth, another to go back. Obviously Quirrel drank the forward one and took the return one with him, and the vials are apparently reset for each entree. That is, of course, if he even had to drink it. Remember, wizards can either freeze fire, or make themselves impervious to it.
    • It said the bottle was barely a gulp, so there was only enough to go one way. And I'm pretty sure the black fire was immune to being frozen or made harmless, otherwise Quirrel wouldn't have needed the potion at all.
    • Uhm, no, that's not a proof. It's magic, "barely a gulp" could hold for a year, for all we know. Then, there's the second potion. Next, if there was such an obvious correlation between the volume of the potion and the longivity of its effect, don't you think Quirrell would've realised it before he drank it, that he wouldn't be able to return? Or at least realise in the inner chamber that the effect had faded and that he's trapped? Yet he seems quite calm and unconcerned, and expects no difficulty with getting out. Why would that be? (and please, spare me that "he's too arrogant or too excited with the stone to think about it" nonsense). Most importantly, if the flames were indeed impassable, why bother with everythin else? Just have an antechamber, where, when somebody enters, the firewalls rise up on both sides, that can only be quelled with a password that only DD knows. Done.
    • The second potion is to pass through the purple fire where the troll is. Obviously that wouldn't help at all with the black fire. And how would Quirrell have realize it had faded unless he approached the fire again? Presumably he was busy studying the mirror. That, or maybe it does take time to wear off, but the time it would take to go through the black fire and back in one dose wouldn't give the drinker enough time to deduce the secret of the mirror. Or he expects getting the stone will let him walk through the fire, since it does make its owner immortal.
    • The potion made Harry chilly inside. I think Q would've noticed if this sensation faded. But fine, let's say the plan was to hold the intruder by the mirror long enough for the effect to wear off. Let's even say that the solution of returning to the flame room before it does and gulping another dose of potion was somehow accounted for. Again, what's the point? Why make the flame room passable and allow the intruder into the inner sanctum? Just have an antechamber, where, when somebody enters, the firewalls rise up on both sides, that can only be quelled with a password that only DD knows. Done.
    • The thing with magic is that given enough time, any spell can be circumvented. Maybe Voldemort could drill through the walls, or deprive the fires of oxygen (assuming they need it) or study them long enough to make a knock-off of the potion, or just phase out through the floor. You can't counter every single possible method of getting through, but if people think there's a way through, they will focus on that instead of trying to get clever.
    • Why would anyone give him that time once he's captured by the fire?
    • The trap theory falls through for the single reason that there's no reason the trap should be sprung in the room that the stone is held in. Why trap an intruder in the Mirror room when you could just as easily trap them in an empty room just before it.
    • Because it's supposed to be solved. Dumbledore WANTED Voldemort to get into the room with the Stone, and he wanted Harry to figure out what was up and go after him. He gave Harry all the tools he needed to do just that. The plan seemed to be, that Voldemort would die in the attempt to kill Harry (due to the protections on Harry because of Lily's sacrifice), with Harry emerging alive and unharmed. It didn't quite work out that way, because of Voldemort's Horcruxes (which Dumbledore was not aware of until the next year, with Riddle's diary).
    • a) It failed to kill him the first time, no reason it would work now. b) If DD didn't know or at least suspect about the Horcruxes, then how did he even explain V surviving and possessing Quirell? c) It is possible to kill indirectly, like, say, levitate a slab of stone over the kid's head and then cancel the spell. So this plan (what a shock) makes no sense.
    • I always assumed that no spell/enchantment/etc was unbeatable. Hence the tasks. They weren't meant to be unbeatable, just all very different. It took THREE first years, people get hung up on the first years part and forget that it took three very different wizards/witch with three very different skill sets to get past the obsticles and even then they had one finished for them. But since nothing anyone put up couldn't be figured out, the proffessors (who I should point out are teachers and not proffessional guards to mystical items) decided to use several very different obsticles in hopes that when one failed to stop someone, another that required a different set of skills would still be in place to catch the intruder. Then at the end they had the locked room with the mystical fire (so it probably couldn't be frozen or cooled) keeping the intruder from leaving.
    • If you've set something up as a trap to keep the bad guy from leaving, and you know that at some point in the sequence the bad guy will voluntarily drink a potion that you've set out for him, why not just label the potion vial 'Drink This To Continue' and then fill it with Draught of Living Death? That ought to "trap" the bad guy pretty damn well. (If you're afraid that the bad guy can recognize Draught of Living Death by sight or smell, well, you're a transfiguration master and an alchemist, Dumbledore; disguise it somehow.)
    • Which he couldn't do if he expected one kid to follow through and engage the bad guy personally.
    • Yes, but picking 'I have the opportunity to force an untrained child to try and solo the Dark Lord' as the superior option to 'I have the opportunity to capture the Dark Lord and keep him subdued for as long as I feel like' would be Insane Troll Logic on Dumbledore's part. Sure, the Prophecy says that Harry has to be part of Voldemort's final defeat, but that doesn't mean that you can't keep Voldemort powerless and helpless while you wait for Harry to grow up. After all, Lily Potter managed that one for about ten years until Quirrell came along...
    • I have a theory that the obstacles were a test by Dumbledore to see whose morals were in the right place. With the exception of Quirrel every other teacher provided an obstacle that could be backed out of or was at the very least not immediately life threatening. Devil's Snare could be bypassed two ways (staying still and calm or with fire), Fluffy could be put to sleep easily, the fake keys didn't attack until you got into the air, the chess pieces ignored you until you started to play, the potions let you back off safely through the fire and even the mirror was no real harm. Only the troll was outright lethal unless you beat it down first.
    • Or, a simpler answer: the puzzles were designed to be solvable so that Flamel, by way of Dumbledore, would be able to retrieve the Stone whenever he happened to need more Elixir, or when it was determined, if ever, that the danger of it being stolen had ceased and that such harsh protections were no longer necessary. Remember, Flamel didn't decide to destroy the stone until the end of the book, and his choice probably came about as a result of Voldemort's evidence reemergence.

    Late Night Out is Extremely Bad? 
  • So, Harry and Hermione are caught out of the dorms after curfew. Neville is caught trying to warn them. They lose 50 points each, get a detention and earn the scorn of 75% of the school. How is that fair? Not to mention the detention was in the middle of the night, out in a forest is known to be extremely dangerous. Not to mention, she stated she thought they had tricked Malfoy with some dragon story to get him in trouble. Why did she think that was why they were out? If it was true, they wouldn't need to be out of their dorm, they could be safe in their bed, laughing about Malfoy getting in trouble. Was she seeing James instead of Harry and allowing that to color her judgement?
    • School rules are Serious Business.
    • At first I thought it was a For Your Own Good situation, but that doesn't hold up when you think about the fact that Hermione only lost five points for attempting to fight a troll by herself (at least as the professors understood it).
    • She might have been seeing a bit of James in Harry, or reacting to the perception that Harry & Hermione are habitual rulebreakers in the making (what with the troll incident and all). This would, however, not reflect at all well on McGonagall if true, because allowing your past experiences with a child's parent to dictate your opinion of that child's behavior is one of the things Snape is most criticized for, and it doesn't look any better when someone else does it. It also would require McGonagall to be extremely unobservant of her student so far, as virtually every single moment of Harry's behavior up to this point has been the exact opposite of James Potter at a similar age.note  Plus, the only really James-esque thing Harry has done so far is catch the Remembrall (remember, coming to warn Hermione about the troll was something Minnie saw as a virtue, as she gave Harry & Ron points for it). So if this fragmentary and contradictory data is still enough to let her leap to the conclusion that Harry is the second coming of Marauder #1, then she might be a competent Transfiguration teacher but as a Head of House she's just not making the cut. Even Snape at least still has a reasonably accurate idea of what his Slytherins are really up to and how they really think.
    • Also, it's generally poor policy to make a final decision on disciplinary actions before allowing the student a chance to explain themselves. Granted that small children caught doing something they shouldn't be doing aren't always paragons of truthfulness, you still can't assume you know everything without being told. Plus, its only fair to let the condemned speak in their own defense — especially since children who become convinced that school discipline is arbitrary and erratic rapidly shift from 'We should obey the rules more and then we won't get in trouble' to 'Heck with it, Adults Are Useless. Let's not just not get caught next time'. And the behavior of the Trio over the next six books — especially Hermione, who starts out in Percy Weasley territory re: obeying of rules and ends up casting Unforgivable Curses on goblins and mindwiping her own parents — would definitely seem to bear this conclusion out.
    • Hermione doesn't work as an example, though, at least not with the actions you chose. She didn't use Imperius or make her parents forget her in defiance of school rules, she did those things during a literal war, where losing would have meant that Hermione and everyone like her would be jailed, tortured, murdered, or all three, and wizard Nazis would reign supreme over everything. Hermione remains pretty rule-abiding through most of her school career, disproportionate punishment or not. It's only when the freedom of the wizarding world is on the line that she really goes all-out with the law-breaking.

    Attempted Murder 
  • In the final book it's revealed that Dumbledore specifically asked Snape to spy on Quirrel during the events of Philosophers Stone. So here's a headscratcher: surely Snape told Dumbledore about Quirrel's attempt to murder Harry? If he did tell Dumbledore then the logical reaction would be for the two of them to confront Quirrel and interrogate him using veritaserum. Remember, they have no idea about Voldemort, so it's fair enough for them to assume they could both take him on. Not to do so would place many people's lives at risk, especially Harry's. If Dumbledore wanted to be really cautious then fine, take some floo powder, round up some Aurors, ask Quirrel to your office and he wouldn't have stood a chance.
    • Quirrelmort confirms during his final confrontation with Harry that Snape knew he was the one who'd been jinxing the broom, which means Dumbledore should also know as Snape has no reason to conceal this information and every reason to share it.note  And while this would not by itself be enough proof to summon the Aurors, it should at least tell Dumbledore who exactly needs investigating. A simple legilimency probe would then reveal two people in Quirrell's head, at least one of them possessing Occlumency shields of Tom Riddle's caliber. This would be enough evidence to prove that something is possessing Quirrell, justifying his being restrained for further examination.
    • Snape's conversation with Quirrell, where Snape acted like he entirely believed Quirrell's facade as a pathetic wizard, would seme to argue against this conclusion. However, Snape is better than anyone else in the series at pretending to believe one thing while actually believing the exact opposite, that being how he survived as a double agent against Voldemort for so long. And he has every reason not to let Quirrell know that he's on to him.

    Best Friends on a Last-Name Basis 
  • More for the whole series, but why do Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy refer to each other by surname all the way through? Even in Britain, that's not usually done amongst peers.
    • It's probably pureblood culture to refer to others by family name.
    • This seems likely, as most purebloods come from old wizarding families with recognizable names. Calling each other by their last names reaffirms their pureblood status. Conversely, they probably consider calling muggle-borns by their last names to be a form of contempt (to them, "Granger" is an insult in and of itself because it's not a wizarding name, "Weasley" is an insult because everyone knows the Weasleys are Muggle-lovers, etc).
    • Actually, when I was in school (around the time the books were written, incidentally,) there were some kids who thought it was fashionable to call each other by their last names. I never understood it myself (my guess was they were mimicking football players or something), but yeah, it's probably based more on blood status then anything else.
    • I was at secondary school during the same timeframe that the books take place in. I went to a grammar school - they only took the top 30% of pupils, had a long and proud history, and pupils were in houses (based on where they lived rather than aptitude/preference). The only real differences between my school and Hogwarts was that my school was an all-boys school, and wasn't a boarding school (and didn't teach magic). At my school, teachers addressed pupils by surname from day one, and that's also how most pupils addressed each other for the first few years.
    • It could be symbolic of their relationships - Malfoy treats Crabbe and Goyle as minions, rather than friends, and refers to them as such. This is compared to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who treat and regard each other as equals and real friends.
    • For what it's worth, I distinctly remember Pansy Parkinson referring to Blaise Zabini by his first name, not his surname, in HBP (she was goading him for finding Ginny attractive). Extra evidence that it was really just a personal foible for Malfoy to call Crabbe and Goyle by their surnames despite their closeness, not a Slytherin thing.
    • They were also at a boarding school. It can be quite common for people to refer to each other by surnames there.
    • Exactly — a lot of boarding-school novels follow this pattern. (Tom Brown's School Days comes to mind.) I'm sure it's less common today, but Hogwarts also still uses carriages, so in that sense it's probably a deliberate anachronism.
    • It's just how they talk. They seem to call everyone by their surname, including Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
    • I went to an all-girls non-boarding school and called quite a few of my friends by their surnames. Some of them were to prevent confusion- between two Katherines, Taylors, or Emilys, for example-, but plenty of people whose surnames were used were the only one in the nakama/general area with that name.
    • I went to a British mixed comprehensive and addressed several of my friends and acquaintances by their last name. It's not massively uncommon.
    • Besides, can you really imagine them calling each other anything but their last names? "Hey, Greg, can I see that book of poisons?" "Of course, Vincent. Here you are." I just can't see it.
    • I can't see Goyle asking Crabbe for a book, but that's beside the point.
    • Some people are just like that. I know several people who are referred to only by their last names, including by their spouses.
    • The wizarding world, especially the old pure-blood families, is shown to be a little old-fashioned even at the best of times. It's not that long ago since first names were reserved for family only — you didn't call your friends by their first names, even if they were your best friends (note how Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who were Heterosexual Life-Partners, never called each other by their first names). Times are changing, though, and several of the students in school are starting to call their friends by their first names — the Gryffindors in Harry's years all do (then again, the only confirmed pure-bloods there are Ron and Neville, and the Weasleys at least are shown to be rather progressive for pure-bloods).
    • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a now-grown-up and matured Draco confesses to Harry at one point that he had always envied Harry's friendship with Ron and Hermione while they were at school, as it was well-understood that Crabbe and Goyle were more his lackeys rather than trusting compadres.

    Hermione Granger, World's Fastest Learner 
  • How come Hermione is so knowledgeable at the beginning of term? Her parents are Muggles: it all seems to imply that she did not know magic and wizards exist until a little more than a month before.
    • A theory is that she got her Hogwarts letter when she turned 11 around the middle of September the year before she went to Hogwarts (the cutoff date for acceptance seems to be for birthdays on August 31st). Because of which, she had access to a lot of magical books for almost a year before she started Hogwarts. It's also possible she's just a really smart person and reads very well for her age group. She does mention that Harry was in three separate books, so it's pretty much handwaved when you first meet her that she's a person that reads a lot.
    • That's pretty much Hermione's defining character trait: She reads a lot. Once she learned she was a witch, she dove headfirst into a pile of books and didn't come out until the term started.
    • She says before the Sorting that she learned all her subjects by heart before the term began.
    • And who can blame her? Seriously, I'd do the same. Sure, I already was a geek in school, but still. Would you really ignore the books that can teach you how to levitate things, change into an animal (which of course wasn't in the first year's books, but I'm being hypothetical), and other amazing things? In fact, I think that Muggle-borns, while maybe not very familiar with the magical world, are more ambitious in terms of their magical education than people who grew up in the wizarding world. For wizards, while going to Hogwarts surely is exciting, it might be more similar to finally going to highschool for us. However, for a Muggle-born, it's like entering a completely new world with endless possibilities.
    • Well, mind you, Hogwarts students don't usually get their letters on their birthdays. Remember, the only reason Hagrid came on Harry's birthday is because all prior letters had been unopened and destroyed. There's most likely a fixed date they're sent out, and Hermione is just wicked smart.
    • Actually Word of God says that the letters are sent 'around the time of the student's eleventh birthday'.
    • It's very likely that she is just a superior student who reads a lot; A Running Gag throughout the series is that she'll know something that even Ron, who was born and raised a wizard, doesn't know, and she'll say "Honestly, have you ever read 'Hogwarts, a History?" or "History of Magic" or a similar book.
    • Hermione is a year older than her peers. After receiving the letter, she waited for a year, presumably only reading and learning books about magic.
    • Hermione was born in September 1979, meaning that she was born at the beginning of the 79/80 school year. At most she'll be 11 month older than the youngest students of her year.
    • Hermione appears to have eidetic memory (possibly even her own magic trait), seeing as she's never shown to forget anything she's read or heard. She may also have been exaggerating about how much she read. I'm not saying that she didn't read a ton of books on magic, since that is her thing, but maybe not quite as many as she claimed.
    • Likely she's just good at retaining memories of things that interest her. It's like being able to remember every detail of your favourite book.
    • Not really eidetic. She just likes to read a lot, and regularly reading a lot means you retain much more information than people who barely ever read. We do know she doesn't forget things that actually matter (and it is easier to remember things which we think will be useful to remember) and that she claims never to forget anything but there are times when she makes mistakes she would not have made had she actually remembered everything. And she starts knowing more than her peers because she's had 11 up to 12 months to learn it and undoubtedly couldn't contain herself and read each and every book a few times, what with her learning that she'll be going to a school of magic sometime during the previous year's September but still having to go to a normal school for a year. She's good at at learning because she has a lot of practice with that, she's good at remembering because she has a lot of practice with that too, she knows more because she's older and actually had time to learn all of that.
    • On top of the extra year, it could be another sign of insecurity. She only just found out about the wizarding world and that could be a major handicap in learning about magic (for all she knew, she would be the only muggle-born in her year). So she overcompensated by reading everything she could about the classes, spells and history to the point she knows more then Ron, who grew up in this world.
  • Imagine this, you're a regular Muggle about to attend regular Muggle school, and all of a sudden, you get a letter stating that you have potential to cast some magic, which can convenience your Muggle life in so many ways. If you could use magic to, I don't know, wash dishes and take out the trash easily, I'm pretty sure that you would. In fact, using magic could even help you do more complex chores, like car-maintenance and theft-prevention, which could easily disrupt the Muggle economy because more people are into using magic rather than Muggle-made items. (P.S. I would think that Arthur Weasely would immediately take the invitation to Eton or Harvard, considering his fascination with the Muggle world.)

    All Bad Wizards Are Slytherins! Except for Him... and Him... and Him... 
  • Hagrid tells Harry, basically, that not all Slytherins are bad, but all bad wizards are Slytherins. Obviously, this isn't true, as Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor. His allegiance wasn't common knowledge at the time, but was he really the only non-Slytherin in Great Britain ever to go bad? But what bugs me more is Sirius, who, because of this statement, I assumed to have been Slytherin until it was revealed otherwise. If Hagrid believes in Sirius's guilt, why not mention the exception? It wouldn't be appropriate to tell the whole story to an eleven-year-old, especially since it involves his own parents' murders, but that's never stopped Hagrid from accidentally letting things slip. Alternatively, if Hagrid knows or even suspects that Sirius was falsely accused (as could be construed from the fact that he borrowed Sirius's motorcycle, among other things), why not share his doubts with Harry at the relevant time, instead of letting the kid think that the traitor who killed his family and ruined his life was coming to get him, boogidy boogidy?
    • I imagine that Hagrid is generalizing and that there are good wizards from Slytherin and there are bad wizards from the other houses. However, since the number of bad wizards mostly came from Slytherin, they are seen as the black sheep of Hogwarts, so to speak.
    • I don't really have an answer, but I did want to make one correction: Hagrid borrows Sirius's bike on the day of the Potters' death, but Sirius doesn't attack Pettigrew until after that. So it's not clear that Hagrid believed he was innocent at that point.
    • In the third book, Hagrid recounts meeting Sirius at Godric's Hollow. He makes it quite clear that he didn't know at the time that Sirius "had" done it and says that "I musta bin the last ter see him before he killed all them people!"
    • It should also be pointed out, after the wizarding world at large "KNEW" that Sirius killed Peter, that no one was to tell Harry that Sirius was his godfather, to protect Harry from trying to fall in with a maniac/possibly break him out of prison for whatever reason. Also, Hagrid tells Harry about 'bad wizards' before Rowling found out that she had a hit on her hands, and she hadn't planned that particular detail yet?
    • The reason that everyone later suspected that Sirius had betrayed the Potters to Voldemort was because he was supposed to be their Secret Keeper. At the time of their deaths however, Hagrid, given his penchant for leaking secrets, likely wouldn't have been told that it was specifically a Fidelius charm protecting their house, and therefore wouldn't have had any reason to suspect Sirius was the one who betrayed them, as it could have been anyone in the Order.
    • WMG, but: It may just be Hagrid's little way of showing that he's prejudiced against Slytherins?
    • Yeah, that's always how I took it... I'm surprised people are confused by it. Many heroic characters through the series show they're at least slightly prejudiced against Slytherins - it seems to be the main reason that James and Sirius (initially) targeted Snape for their bullying. The Slytherins don't make it easier on themselves, of course, acting like huge doucheweasels most of the time, but even so. Additionally, this isn't the only time Hagrid shows a mild prejudice. He also shows some clear ethnocentrism in the 4th book when he chews Harry out for being alone with Krum, because 'you can't trust foreigners'. He's pissed off at Madame Maxime, of course, but the fact that he has no qualms with using his feelings about her to label ALL foreigners would never happen in someone who actually thought that kind of prejudice was wrong. Let's remember, kids: being a victim of bigotry doesn't make you incapable of having prejudices of your own. Nor do those biases make you pure evil. Unlike the true villains of the world, Hagrid's prejudices are generally mild, don't become the focus of his life, and don't push him to kill others. It's alright for Hagrid to have his own vices.
    • Considering it was a Slytherin who got Hagrid expelled and jailed, it's hardly surprising that he would be biased against them, even without knowing what the Slytherin in question would grow up to be.
    • It may make sense for the character to hold that prejudice, but it does not make sense for Rowling to write it that way. It isn't just Hagrid giving information to Harry, it's Rowling giving information to us. "You can't trust foreigners" is a belief that is unfortunately widely held, so Harry Potter is not likely to be the first place a reader encounters such a statement. "There's never been a wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin" is not only the first value judgment we're given about Slytherin House, it's the first time new readers have even heard of it. Everyone understands the concept of "foreigners," and can use personal experience to contextualize a character's statements about them as potentially prejudiced. We can't do that with Slytherins; we can only rely on what the author tells us, and for an author like Rowling whose throwaway lines tended to be packed with meaning to set up this group with a statement that is wrong according to both the objective narrative and the character's subjective experience just doesn't work.
      I'm not complaining that Hagrid disliked Slytherins or that his statement was proven wrong when Pettigrew turned out to be bad. I'm complaining that Hagrid's belief as presented would only have made sense if Sirius had been a Slytherin. (And I think the story would have benefited from this nuance.)
    • Um, for any writer (any good writer, that is) you become the character in that moment. You do not meta-write. If a character has a prejudice, the author writes that character as having a prejudice. The author does not suddenly turn off the character to relay information in it's true unbiased form. For Hagrid to explain the 'bad wizards' without sounding prejudiced against them (remember, Tom Riddle, AKA Voldemort is the one that blamed the first Chamber of Secrets incident on him, and got him his first stay in Azkaban, and for any reader that suddenly went dumb, Voldemort is from Slytherin) is out character for him. Remember, Harry is our proxy, we learn things as he learns things, for us to be presented with information Harry doesn't know (such as other houses went bad) makes the experience of reading the books different, and Rowling probably wanted us to read with the same prejudice. Don't assume the author writes for you. A famous quote said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Write for an audience, and they will hate it. Write for yourself, and the audience will love it."
    • In a case of an Adaptation Distillation being a good thing, in the movie it's Ron who utters the "no witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin" line. It makes more sense for the line to be uttered by an 11 year old, since children tend to see things in black and white, and he's likely just parroting something he heard someone else say. It doesn't make the attitude more acceptable, just more understandable.
    • Wait. You mean to tell me that a baseless assumed stereotype turned out to not actually be true!? Shocking.
    • Word of God is that Merlin was a Slytherin, so there's at least one good Slytherin. For an example that appears in the books, Slughorn certainly had the ambition that Slytherins are famous for, and I think it would be a stretch to call him evil. He was at worst prejudiced.
    • The Hufflepuff greeting message in Pottermore tells us that Hufflepuff has produced the least Dark wizards of any of the four houses. So Hagrid is definitely exaggerating, even apart from his belief that Sirius is a Death Eater; all four houses have produced Dark wizards, Slytherin has simply produced significantly more than the others (and Gryffindor a few more than Hufflepuff).

    Lily and James, Middle-Aged Twentysomethings? 
  • Why do Lily and James look like they're in their forties in the Mirror Erised, and just about every other time that we see them as adults in any of the films? They were both murdered when they were in their early twenties. I mean, sure, they were "parents," but parents of a one-year-old, not a teenager!
    • You have to keep in mind that Harry desires not just his family, but for his family to never have died. Fridge Brilliance says what he's seeing in the mirror is his parents alive and with at him at that moment.
    • Dawson Casting anyone?
    • The movies don't have to follow the same timeline as the books. Afterall the Millennium Bridge is shown getting destroyed when the book is set in the 1990s.
    • Also note that if the movies followed the same timeline as the books, then Snape, Sirius, Remus and Wormtail (all contemporaries of James and Lily at school) would be in their early-to-mid-thirties. Instead, all appear to be in their mid-forties or even older — which is consistent with the pictures of James and Lily.
    • Once they cast Alan Rickman to play Snape, they kinda had to make the other characters who'd been to school with him older than they were in the books.
    • I don't remember where she said this but I seem to remember JK Rowling once saying that she didn't mean to make Harry's parents and co so young, it just sort of turned out that way. The books never really pay much attention to how young they are.
    • The exact ages of Snape, Sirius, Remus and Wormtail was very implicit in the books and can only be discerned from details in the later books. In the movies you have to assume they're about a decade older than in the books. Therefore James and Lily Potter would be in their 30s when they died, and their contemporaries would be 40-something by the time Harry enters Hogwarts. The actors playing Sirius, Remus, and Wormtail were in fact around that age, and with a little suspension of disbelief you can accept Rickman in that age range as well. I think this was done in order to cast veteran character actors in the roles, who were likely to be older than their 30s.

    Hermione Not Smart Enough for Ravenclaw? 
  • Ravenclaw house is known for its intellect and wisdom. Why wasn't Hermione sorted into it?
    • It's explained in the fifth book. She was in a similar situation to Harry being suited for both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor and asked the Hat for Gryffindor.
    • Because Rowling wanted Harry to have a smart friend in his trio. No matter what handwave she gives, it really makes no sense for her to be in Gryffindor as opposed to Ravenclaw.
    • Now that's exaggerating. You're saying no eleven year old would want to be in the popular house as apposed to the intelligent house? She mentions before the sorting that she heard that Dumbledore was in Gryffindor, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to guess that she wanted to be in that house because of its reputation.
    • Somebody like Harry or Ron - certainly, but an education-freak uber-nerd like Hermi? Besides, it kind of negates the importance of the Sorting Hat, if this supposedly powerful artifact capable of looking into one's very soul and perceiving their true penchants can be overruled on a child's whim. Let's drop the pretense: it'd be plain plot-inconvinient if the Trio members belonged to different Houses.
    • Considering that the magic that enables the sorting hat to work could be powerful, perhaps the method of action can cross over into precognition and the hat, even if it was subtle, was trying to maneuver them into Gryffindor to be together as its saw a powerful draw of fate there.
    • There's a fan theory which actually explains a fair bit, and (perhaps) makes the system seem less dumb overall. All that stuff about the hat examining your personality for House-appropriate traits? It's lying about that, at least by omission. The hat's only real criteria are the student's wishes, with possible tweaking to keep the four populations equal. (This would mean the various House traits are really more like self-perpetuating stereotypes.) On the train, Hermione says "I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad." This is why the hat considers R but settles on G. In Harry's case, it was split between G and S; Harry liked G from what litle he'd heard, but the hat was wildly thrown off by the desires of his inner Horcrux, and only Harry's explicit wish against it tipped the balance.
    • No, I'd say the "Draw of Fate" theory makes more sense.
    • The Fridge Logic sets in when you wonder why Hermione, who (at least in the beginning) values intelligence and book smarts would ever choose to be Gryffindor. Also, how many students go into Hogwarts thinking "Wow, hope I get Hufflepuff."
    • I could imagine. You're 11 years old, you come in this great hall with hundreds of students and teachers (and Dumbledore!) and the Sorting Hat asks you where you want to be. Maybe you're shy or don't know it yet. Or perhaps you who don't want to be marked "brave", "smart" or "evil" yet. To be fair, if I went to Hogwarts, I'd probably be sorted into Hufflepuff (or Ravenclaw).
    • Hermione values book smarts, yes, but she values courage more. That's who she wants to be. Also, part of the reason she reads everything she can get her hands on to prepare for classes is fear of inadequacy.
    • Isn't that Word of God, or do I read too much fanfiction?
    • It's more than Word of God, it's directly stated in the second book. Or has Mr./Ms. "It's a plot point for them to be together" honestly forgotten: "It's our choices, Harry, and not our abilities, that determine who we are". Just because you're smart or ambitious does not mean you can't be brave. Remember, in the last book, Dumbledore also says "Sometimes, I think we sort too soon".
    • I could think of people who'd want to get sorted into Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff is said to be full of hard workers, and there are people out there who consider a hard day's work to be enormously gratifying, and a good judge of character. Also, anyone coming from a long line of Hufflepuffs who has strong familial ties.
    • Because the hat makes the decision based not only on the student's prevailing personality traits, but also on their values and beliefs. Hermione is brilliant, yes, but her brilliance is always directed by her righteousness and courage. She uses her skills to make forbidden potions and sneak into the Ministry, because she knows that it is the right thing to do.
    • Also, after a long and grueling study of the Houses that I did in my free time (NERD ALERT!!), I realized that Gryffindors, as opposed to Ravenclaws, want recognition for what they do. They like being recognized and given credit. Ravenclaws don't care. They're the ultimate individualists, they want knowledge for knowledge's sake and don't care what people think of them. Hermione is, admittedly, a bit of a show-off. She likes knowledge, yes, but not completely for its own sake. She cares what people think of her. That's why Luna was in Ravenclaw - she's insightful, if not completely book-smart, and doesn't give a darn what people think about her.
    • Thank you, above troper. Just... thank you. This topic always bothered me a little, but I think you just explained it perfectly.
    • That's very similar to my thoughts. Hermione is very intelligent, but the reason she exercises that intelligence is because of her need to be seen as the best at something. (With that kind of ambition, she could even have ended up in Slytherin.) Her encounter with the boggart clearly shows that her greatest fear is of not measuring up, and her jealousy of Harry's unearned potions skill reveals that she has a bit of a nasty streak when she feels she's being overshadowed. Hermione explicitly wants to be a Gryffindor because they are "the best," but she may also have been subconsciously aware that a girl whose defining trait is her intelligence would not have stood out in a house full of similarly intelligent people, and that as a Gryffindor, she would have less competition on that level, cementing her in the eyes of her teachers (the authority figures who matter most to her at that point) as the best (student) of the best (house).
    • Hermione probably is too narrow minded for Ravenclaw. It seems that if asked the question by the eagle, what she'd do is try to look the answer up in a book as opposed to trying to think of it for herself. In fact you could argue she belongs in Hufflepuff since she's incredibly hardworking if you consider she memorised all her school books before she'd even started at Hogwarts and starts revising for exams ten weeks in advance. Then there's the Time Turner stuff.
    • Hermione is without a doubt narrow minded. In the seventh book, she refuses to even entertain the possibility that the Deathly Hallows are real. She dismisses the whole thing as a crackpot legend, even though in the second book she's the one who comments that all legends have some basis in fact. If she didn't read it in a book, or hear it from a respected authority on the subject, she won't even consider it.
    • This. Hermione cannot be in Ravenclaw because she refuses point blank to learn anything that isn't specifically written out as fact. Ravenclaws have to, by nature, be creative and open-minded because Ravenclaws both love to learn and expand on their knowledge, they further what they know and they test their theories. She didn't choose Gryffindor. Nobody can just choose their House, that's not how it works. Neville begged for Hufflepuff, specifically for Hufflepuff, but was overridden by the Hat. Harry didn't choose his House, either- he just asked not to be put in Slytherin. He could easily have been sorted to Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff because he was considered for both as well. Hermione lacks the qualities that make Ravenclaw more than a group of people who read a lot. She wants to learn, but only from books and teachers. Luna even manages to prove some things in her father's magazine actually exist, even though Hermione pooh-poohed them because they hadn't yet been proven. It's very likely Hermione refused to accept magic was real until it was proven to her, even as she accidentally performed magic as a child. Her high intellect and thirst for knowledge is what got her considered, and it's likely she questioned the Hat, rather than it taking forever to decide where she belonged, because she could not survive in a Ravenclaw environment with her attitude about what people should learn. Look how she treats Divination, if how she treats Luna isn't good enough. Harry and Ron both display more Ravenclaw qualities than she does, because both are willing to use the old potions book with different instructions and unofficial spells. They might not be interested in History, but it's noted that it's directly because of Binns, not the subject material, and both are quite willing to learn and seem to retain knowledge, because they never get detentions over homework. They're more Ravenclaw than Hermione.
    • Hermione says in Order of the Phoenix that the Sorting Hat seriously did consider Ravenclaw for her, but ultimately decided on Gryffindor. As previous tropers have pointed out, Hermione really wanted to be a Gryffindor; she directly says on the train that Gryffindor sounds "by far the best," but that she supposes Ravenclaw "wouldn't be too bad." So, since Hermione had qualities that would have qualified her for both Houses, the Hat went with her number one choice.
    • I think it's worth mentioning that Hermione is a rare case of what is sometimes referred to as a 'Hatstall'. Her sorting lasted longer than five minutes because the Sorting Hat was sat there debating back and forth between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor because Hermione was equally suited for both. In such cases, I think it's far more likely that the Hat took Hermione's own desire into account after realizing there was no way to unbalance the decision toward either side far enough to decide that way other than her desire.

    Charlie's Discount Wands 
  • So, Ron got his wand from his older brother Charlie. Since wizards still need wands when they grow up, does that mean Charlie doesn't have a wand? No, that can't be, because he needs one for his job. So did he give Ron the wand that chose him and get another one when Ron went to Hogwarts? Since he obviously has enough money to buy a wand, why didn't he buy Ron a wand that worked for him (Ron) and keep the old one that he (Charlie) used?
    • There are two theories I hear about this one. One that Charlie got a bargin wand or a cheaper one than Ollivander's and could just afford one from Ollivander with his signing bonus for working with the Dragon Reservation. In this idea, the Weasleys were always poor and couldn't afford an Ollivander wand, so they got another wand maker to get one for Charlie that wasn't matched as well to him. Rather than throwing away a wand when he got a new one, he gave it to Ron. The other idea is that as people grow and change personality-wise, sometimes the wand isn't as compatible as it used to be requiring new wands to be purchased (if you think about it, that makes sense; otherwise, if people were careful, there'd be one wand purchased for a lifetime).
    • It could also be that Charlie's first wand was something like a standardized wand that performs good enough for most people. Kind of like a universal remote control can work fine for most tvs.
    • I honestly thought that Charlie had recieved his as a handmedown from a grandparent or uncle or something, and he passed it on to Ron once he was able to afford one that chose him.
    • The real question is why the Weasleys didn't just get Ron a new wand. It seems like it's a necessity for a wizard to get a properly functioning wand in the wizarding world, one attuned to the wizard precisely. It doesn't seem like one of those things one can exactly skimp on, even for the Weasleys.
    • It doesn't seem like a necessity for a first year student to have a perfect wand, as long as he has one that's vaguely responsive. Since the Weasley's are so similar, and pure blood families are known to be a bit inbred, that old wand worked okay for both Ron and Charlie, and, probably, for any of their brothers or their sister.
    • Off of that point, you don't buy a first grader the same kind of calculator you buy someone going to MIT. Ron just needs something that responds enough to get through the first year or so, and then the Weasleys could save up and get him a better wand.
    • It seems to me that the difference between a perfectly matched Ollivander wand and a serviceable (if lesser) wand is the difference between a bespoke suit and one bought off the rack. It's great if you can get the former, but you can manage just fine with the latter in most situations where you'd need it. It could also be that Ollivander was a bit too wand-obsessed, even for someone who made it his vocation. I can't remember anyone besides him in the whole series giving a damn about how flexible a wand is.
    • Another theory I've heard is that Molly bought Charlie a wand of his own as a reward for becoming a prefect (much as Percy got an owl and Ron a second-hand broom).
    • Niggling point, but Ron's broom wasn't second hand, it just wasn't top of the line like Harry's Firebolt.
    • Yet another theory: We know that Charlie has just left Hogwarts. He must have just started his job. It makes sense that come first payday, he'd go "Yay! Money of my own! Now I'm going to buy myself something new for a change!" and then go to Ollivander's and get himself a new, shiny wand. Since his old one was still perfectly servicable, he gave it to Ron — this is pretty common to do in many families; you buy something new for yourself but the old thing you're replacing still has a lot of use left in it, so you give it to a younger family member who might need it. Waste not, want not.
    • Forgive me if I'm misremembering, but didn't Ron say of his wand something like "Look, you can see the unicorn hair poking out."? If this is true, then maybe Charlie damaged his wand somehow at Hogwarts and it would be too dangerous to use even a mildly defective wand when he became a dragon handler. Therefore, he just passed his slightly damaged, but still useable wand to his younger brother and got a new one when he went to Romania.
    • Garrick Ollivander is the first person we know of who actually pays attention to wand compatibility enough to make that many wands preemptively and have people try one-by-one. Before his time, most wizards just got a piece of wood and core material they liked or had access to, got a wand done with those, and used what they got with some degree of effectiveness. And Ollivander is known for being very into wand crafting, to the point of obsessiveness, so it is not that weird for people who still remember that the ones before them used "any wand" and somehow got by, to not particularly care about the whole "wand compatibility" thing Ollivander preaches and instead dismiss it as being just some talk of an obsessed guy. Heck, the very fact that Neville's grandmother has him use his father's wand supports this theory; for all she knows it wasn't a problem in her time and so it isn't a problem now, and if Neville has a problem with the wand then clearly he has to try better.
      Mind you, Ron's wand was still a rather crappy choice as far as that goes, as the combination of ash and unicorn hair can be summed up with "if you aren't the original owner, it's probably the shittiest wand ever for you and you might as well be casting with an untreated stick". But the reason for why they went with it is there, it's the behind-the-times mentality and their own past experiences.
    • I have a theory about that wand and where it came from that would actually answer this fairly well. In fact, I think that wand was given a very subtle story arc. Stick with me here: Wands are a deeply personal thing for wizards. A wizard is so connected to his or her wand, that it doesn't work well for anyone but it's owner. Wands are even seen to serve as a means of identification on occasion. It's not difficult to imagine that it's fairly common for wizards to keep a deceased loved one's wand as a memento. Notably, it's worn-down in a way that seems odd, because if a wand were to become damaged, you'd expect it to be snapped in two—as eventually happened to both it and Harry's wand—rather than having it's wood worn away by overuse. That wand is either very old, or was damaged under unusual circumstances. The Weeasley's do have one conspicuously damaged memento in their possession: Fabian Prewett's pocket watch. Fabian Prewett and his brother Gideon were Molly's brothers who were both killed in the First Wizarding War. Molly gave that dented watch to Harry for his seventeenth birthday; which establishes that not only does she consider Harry family, but also that she doesn't mind seeing her precious keepsakes used by others, so long as its being used by a loved one. I suspect that Charlie's old wand once belonged to one of her deceased brothers, and that the wand and the watch were both damaged during the battle that killed Fabian and Gideon Prewett. That wand, injured but functional, was given to Charlie in part because the Weasleys couldn't afford a new one. It served him well, and was eventually passed along to Ron who used it until it was destroyed. In the wand's final act, it incapacitated Lockheart; a sacrifice that made it possible for Harry to save Molly's only daughter. That's a pretty satisfying story arc for an inanimate object...but, again, it's only a theory.

    Psychic Dumbledore and Flamel? 
  • How did Dumbledore and Flamel find out the Stone was in danger before the break-in at Gringotts? As far as I can tell, that was the first indication that someone was after it.
    • We're never told much about this, but my educated guess would be it's either an amazing coincidence or rumors Dumbledore heard about Voldemort's movement from where his spirit was known to be. It's been a while since I read the canon books, but I think he mentioned something about having people keep an eye on Voldemort's movements and noticed a drastic change in location and ordered the change of location just to be safe. Again, this is assuming that's the real stone and not a decoy to attract Voldemort's attention.
    • The above could be very well true but here is my theory: This is the year that Harry Potter is rejoining the wizarding world. Dumbledore would reason that this might stir Voldemort to action and thus he took measures to protect the most obvious route back to full bodied existence.
    • We don't know how Voldemort found out where the Stone was kept, either. Possibly he had Quirrell snoop around the Flamels' home earlier that summer, thinking the alchemist would want to have it close to him. Realizing there's been an intruder in their house, they contacted Dumbledore and asked that he take charge of it for safekeeping.
    • Let's not forget that Dumbledore had a psychic employed in his school at the time.

    Quirrell Power To the Max or Quirrell Incompetence? 
  • During their final battle, Quirrell conjures ropes to ensnare Harry by snapping his fingers, releases him by clapping his hands, and then prepares to cast the killing curse by "raising his hand". And then, when Harry attempts to escape, he... grabs him by the hand and then wrestles him dowm. Huh. I am confused: is Quirrell the most awesome wizard in the world and the sole exception from the general rule that strictly equates "wandless" with "powerless", or is he a total idiot?
    • I always thought it was weird, but then I assumed that was probably a side-effect of Voldemort possessing him. Perhaps with that much magic in one body, it makes wandless abilities much more reasonable. That, or Voldemort uses his body as a magical focus/wand to make spell casting easier.
    • Well, the main problem is, why would he suddenly go all physical instead of snapping his fingers again?
    • He also beat a troll unconscious with a club. Perhaps he just likes getting physical.
    • He still hardly held it with his hands, but rather used Levitation.
    • He probably just had his wand in his other hand and snapped his fingers for effect. It's proven in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that you don't have to hold a wand to use it, just be near it. Also, Quirrell physically grabbing Harry was likely instinct.
    • Have you ever tried clapping your hands while holding something? I don't think so. As for instinct, you'd think that for wizards, who use their wands for pretty much everything, using it would've been an instinct, which is actually true for every other wizard every other time in every other book. Harry himself develops an instinctive lightning-fast wand-draw by the fifth book, let alone more experienced wizards, like Snape. Hell, in the movie at least, Quirrell did (gasp) the smart thing and blocked the exit with a fire wall. Scarhead had nowhere to run, so why grab him?
    • Yes, I have. You don't have to grip the wand with your whole hand.
    • Why wouldn't you? It's a magic wand, not a writing pen - you need a good grip to make all the gestures. Anyway, I doubt Quirrell would bother clapping just for dramatic effect, specially with a wand in his hand.
    • Snapping his fingers, not clapping. Anyway, perhaps his wand was in the hand he raised.
    • Quirrellmort's wand isn't mentioned. Perhaps during one of the obstacles it broke but he/they are capable enough to perform magic without it. This is Voldemort after all and he is capable of extraordinary magic.
    • Yes, that's kind of the point of this Headscratcher. If he was THAT awesome, why the hell grab Harry by hand?
    • Uh 1) Reflex 2) Grown man versus boy... who's likely to be stronger?
    • Again. For us - sure. Wizards use magic all the time - it should be reflectory for them.
    • I also wonder why didn't he just put Imperius on Harry and make him give away the stone, but I guess Rowling didn't think of that curse by that time. If she did, though...
    • If he had, the curse would have bounced right back: the protection doesn't just cover physical contact, it stops Quirrelmort from harming Harry.
    • Huh, I guess tying somebody up doesn't count as "harming" then. Go figure.
    • Did Lily's protection make it impossible for Voldemort to cast spells at Harry? I was under the impression that it only prevented Voldemort from touching Harry.
    • Actually, it prevented spells cast by Voldemort and those he possessed from harming Harry, thus why Voldemort's first killing curse bounced off and de-bodied Voldemort. Of course, Voldemort also couldn't stand physical contact with Harry due to the same charm, but that was more a side-effect than the actual intended use. Quirrel ended up sorted into the same caste by the very nature of Voldemort's soul and the possession used to "keep a closer eye" on Quirrel.

    We Can Rule Together 

  • What the hell was with the We Can Rule Together moment? The guy is literally destined to kill you unless you kill him, so why in Khorne's name would you offer him a place beside you? The same applies to Neville in Deathly Hallows.
    • Voldemort probably saw the potential in making Harry trust him only either to betray and kill him when he let his guard down, or have Harry turned against Dumbledore and actually help him. Keep in mind that Voldemort doesn't know the whole prophecy; what he does know is that Harry or Neville has the power to defeat him, not that they have to defeat him. Perhaps he thought/hoped the rest of the prophecy summarized to "unless they work together, in which case they'll be unstoppable."
    • I guarantee that Rowling had not got as far as writing the prophecy when this book was done, so at this point there was no "destined to kill..." it was merely a bad guy trying to tempt the good guy moment.
    • So far as Voldemort knew, the prophecy had already been fulfilled when he attacked baby Harry and his original body was destroyed. He only realized there was more to it when he touched the boy and was burned by the contact, indicating that the "power that he knows not" had yet to run its course.
    • He claimed they can rule together. What makes you think he planned on following through?

    Quidditch Murder 

  • It just struck me that Quirrell's attempted murder of Harry during the Quidditch match probably wouldn't have worked: He jinxes Harry's broom and tries to fling him off, but in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry does fall off his broom, but Dumbledore just uses magic to slow his fall and save him. Now, I know Dumbledore wasn't present at that particular match, but surely there must be some safety measures taken against falling in a game like Quidditch?
    • It's been proven time and again in the books that Wizards are generally hardier than Muggles. Neville falls from a not inconsiderable height from a broom and only sprains his wrist, and Lucius Malfoy gets thrown down a flight of stairs without apparent injury, to list but two examples. The general rule regarding Quidditch seems to be "We'll patch you up, but it's your own damn fault if you get injured." Plus, there's no reason to think that Quirrell's plan in bewitching the broomstick was to simply buck him off; he might have intended on making it fly up so high that the fall would kill even a wizard, or sending it flying into the Whomping Willow, or something similar. The only reason it was flailing like that was because of Snape's countercurse.
    • Flying up high enough to kill even a wizard seems to be what Quirrell had in mind. It's mentioned in the text that during the bucking around, the broom is also going higher and higher. And everyone present seemed to have been worried that the fall would be fatal, to judge by their reactions.
    • Alternatively, he never expected it to actually kill Harry. But if not for Snape's countercurse, he'd have carried out an attack on Harry Potter undetected, leaving the Hogwarts staff running around trying to protect Harry while he goes for the stone. Or Voldemort just wanted to hurt Harry and give him a fear of flying because he's a dick.
    • Wizards don't require a wand to use magic, it's just easier and that's how they're trained to do it. Children who notice they're magic soon enough can learn to use their magic before getting their wands (Tom Riddle, Lilly Evans and Severus Snape are all known to do this) so all other wizards are lacking is practice at not using their wands. Granted, some magic likely needs a wand but if Quirrell, or more likely Voldemort, had practiced enough he should be more than capable of overpowering a first year wandless.
    • Didn't Quirrell originally teach Muggle Studies? Being able to cast spells without whipping out a wand for everyone to see would be a useful skill for a wizard whose job requires close observation of Muggles, keeping track of their customs, etc.

    Nicholas Flamel: Stupidest Genius Ever? 
  • Why did Flamel even let Dumbledore protect his Stone? Flamel is roughly three times Dumbldore's age, so I would assume that Flamel would know some awe inspiring magics, or something. 600 years is a very long time. If he only mastered alchemy in that time, it would probably be more efficient than Dumbledore's system.
    • Perhaps Dumbledore is just better at that sort of thing. Who would you rather protect you from robbery, a 90-year-old chemist who discovered the cure for cancer, or a 30-year-old security contractor? Granted, Dumbledore seemed to do a pretty bad job of it (Why in the world would the logic puzzle point to the correct potion? Why would the correct potion even be there? At least make it so you have to mix several in a precise order), but Flamel didn't know he would, and it's possible Flamel would do worse.
    • Not the best analogy, since Flamel is still (artificially) in the prime of his life and has had about four centuries of protecting his stone before Dumbledore was even born. It's more like a 30-year-old backpacker who's traveled through questionable countries vs. a 10-year-old who managed to protect his toys from the school bully.
    • Flamel has gone four centuries with his stone being protected. By the end, it was by Gringotts. It's quite likely that this was the whole time. Of course, goblins live as long as he did, and they definitely have the relative experience, which means that every reason both of us gave would apply to that he should never have transferred it from Gringotts to Hogwarts. In addition, moving it meant passing it through several people, each of whom had a very good reason to steal it (each of them was mortal, and what's worse, slowly dying of old age).
    • Why not simply create a fake Stone that has the same traps as the items in Bellatrix's vault and leave that in Gringotts to be stolen, while the real one is under a Fidelius Charm in your sock drawer? Goodness, something as simple as a triggered anti-apparition/portkey jinx linked to a Caterwauling Charm would do the job for you, as all you need to do is keep the thief from leaving while at the same time telling Gringotts security 'Hey, come kill this guy'.
    • He can't keep it in his sock drawer because he doesn't have one. Nobody ever gets DD socks for Christmas.
    • Having a fake stone at Hogwarts/Gringotts the whole time just makes much more sense anyways. Its powers are never actually used in the story, so for all we know, Flamel just gave Dumbledore a replica. It doesn't contradict canon, at least.
    • To counter the OP's question. Why not? The stone was perfectly safe in D's possession, and it was already discussed to death above that all the "traps" on the way to the stone were designed for the Trio.
    • In fact, the stone could have been fake. It was not needed for Dumbledore's plans for Harry's first year. It was mostly a bait to lure Voldemort, I think.
    • Wizards are sometimes not all that bright, creating the stone may have been his one genius stroke. OR... he didn't even make it himself, he won/bought/sold it from someone else. It's so long ago he could tell everyone he made it, and who'd know?

    Why Trust Hagrid? 
  • This one applies to the whole series. Hagrid is unfailingly loyal and would never knowingly betray Harry, Dumbledore, or the rest; however, he is consistently portrayed as not very bright and prone to spilling information, especially when he has a couple drinks in him. So why does he keep getting entrusted with top-secret missions and information?
    • Because spilling information in carefully measured doses is his mission.
    • While it's true that some of the information he spills doesn't actively hurt our heroes, it's still a minor miracle that he didn't screw up anything serious. When you add all of the OP's arguments to the fact that he also is a mediocre spellcaster at best, it seems foolish to trust him with anything at all, especially such tasks as retrieving the stone from Gringotts and ferrying Harry around. Indeed, it seems Fridge Brilliance that in Deathly Hallows, the Order sends real!Harry with Hagrid — The Death Eaters would assume he was with one of the more powerful wizards like Mad-Eye or Kingsley, not the perpetual screw up.
    • In a post-Voldemort world, no-one could use Avada Kedavra in a crowded street in broad daylight without being mobbed by about 50 wizards and witches at once. The Order of the Phoenix has a bit where Hagrid manages to shrug off several casts of Stupefy — which instantly fell McGonagall, a full and powerful witch — when avoiding capture by the Ministry, before he runs off into the Forbidden Forest. That's why Dumbledore trusted him to retrieve the stone from Gringotts, at least.
    • Nah, it only means that the Ministery agents were (big surprise) incredibly inept, incoherent, incompetent and inimaginative imbeciles who forgot that other fighting techniques exist, besides Stupefy-spam: summoning things like chains or ropes, levitating things and turning them into projectiles, transfiguring or vanishing ground beneath the enemy's feet and so on — Hagrid's resistance should've by all means meant nothing against a half-decent opponent. No, the only sensible reason to send Hagrid after the stone was exactly the same as have him doing everything else — he's conspicous and seemingly dim. It was like semaphoring "We're moving the Stone to Hogwarts" (how else would V know that it was there and not, say, in the Department of Mysteries?), which was exactly what DD needed — to lure V into the school for his little game.
    • I can imagine Quirrell entering a room before 'Fluffy chamber', and door just closing and locking, an image of Dumbledore would appear on a giant screen and say: Hello, Voldy. I wanna play a game.
    • Hagrid does shrug off several curses fired at him by Death Eaters at the end of Half-Blood Prince. It seems unlikely they were pulling their punches.
    • Of course not, but it seems likely that they were just as stupid as the ministery morons.
    • In the Ministry wizard's defense, they're specialists in hunting dark wizards, not fully enraged half-giants who can throw them around like rag dolls. I for one can't blame them for panicking and doing the wizard equivalent of firing on full automatic.
    • Maybe they chose Hagrid to escort Harry because, being only a groundskeeper, Hagrid isn't exactly vital to the school in the way that, say, McGonagall is. It's no big deal if he's not at Hogwarts for a couple of days, and they don't need a huge security detail for Harry at this point in the story.
    • Dumbledore had Hagrid get Harry presumably because Voldemort and his followers would underestimate Hagrid. Much like the plan with the 7 potters. As for when Harry goes to school for the first time, I presume that Dumbledore wanted Harry to befriend Hagrid, so that he could solve the puzzles for himself.
    • In addition to that, Hagrid is the first staff member the students ever see at Hogwarts, so with sending Hagrid with whom Harry would likely form a friendship, Dumbledore could be pretty sure, that arriving at Hogwarts would be a good deal easier for Harry when a friend was bringing him to the castle. And in addition to that: While Hagrids look can easily get you wrong, he is the friendliest and most easygoing member of the staff. Dumbledore did not only send Harry a bodyguard and guide for his very first steps in the magical world, he send him a friend, actually the very first one in his life. It almost certain, that Dumbledore knew that Harry had no friends.

    Stone Cold On The Floor 
  • The Mirror of the Erised was in an empty Classroom until Christmas, so when was the stone put "in" it? Was the stone just sitting on the floor after the last trap? In the third floor hall?
    • It was obviously only put in that classroom for a couple of nights so that Harry could be introduced to it and inconspicuously given an explanation as to how it works (otherwise, why would D keep watch there?)
    • Could be that Dumbledore had only just gotten his hands on the mirror and was like "Hey, we can use this to protect the Stone!" After all, "just sitting on the floor" was exactly what it was doing in the Gringott's vault Hagrid pulled it from.
    • Maybe it was in there the whole time. We know the third-floor corridor had been dangerous since the beginning of the year but perhaps not *all* the protections were ready - I would imagine it took time for the Devil's Snare to grow, for example. So until he got the distraction-obstacle-course ready, Dumbledore used it as a *different kind* of distraction - Voldemort would make it through early only to realize there's nothing at the end, while the Stone is safe in the magic mirror sitting in a random room of the school, which Voldemort is never going to be able to get the Stone out of anyway. Either Dumbledore ended up moving it early because of Harry's obsession or he finished the protections around the same time Harry found the Mirror; either way, at that point the Mirror got moved.

    The Happiest Man Alive 
  • When Harry and Dumbledore are discussing the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore says that the happiest man on earth would look in the mirror and see himself exactly as he was. Um... we're assuming that the happiest man on earth has no desires at all? Everybody wants something, and even if it wasn't anything deeper than, say, a ham sandwich, he would still see something.
    • It was an analogy, let it go.
    • The happiest man alive has no unfulfilled desires. The happiest man alive is so happy precisely because he has no desires to chase after and become sad over their lack of fulfillment. Since the happiest man already has everything he desires, he will see himself as he is, with every single one of his desires fulfilled.
    • Also, whatever desires the happiest man on earth has, his desire for his life to stay the same might outweigh them all. He might want a ham sandwich, but he wants his life to stay the same as it is now even more.
    • Dumbledore said the Mirror shows you the deepest and most desperate desire in your heart. "A ham sandwich" wouldn't count as a desperate desire except to someone starving to death, and such a person could hardly be considered "The Happiest Man Alive."

    Cats are better than Death? 
  • How is it that Mrs. Norris could see Harry through the Invisibility Cloak, when the cloak could even hide someone from Death? I guess if cats are superior to Death, this might explain the Nine Lives thing.
    • Dementors can see through them too and the whole thing with Death is just a legend anyway. Dumbledore says the Peverell brothers were probably just great wizards who invented the Hallows on their own.
    • Mrs. Norris can smell him and Dementors can sense his soul.
    • Remember, every time anyone uses the Cloak, their legs aren't covered by it. That means if Harry covered his whole body with it, even Dementors wouldn't be able to sense him. Or Marauders' Map.
    • The legs ARE covered, actually. Harry even mentions in later books that, due to him and his friends getting taller, they have to bend over a bit just to get the cloak to cover their legs and feet, and they didn't have to do that to cover themselves entirely when they were younger. In DH, during the battle at Hogwarts, it's mentioned that H/Hr/R stand and walk completely erect under the cloak and only their feet show.
    • Which by the way is a Headscratcher of its own. Presented by Death or simply crafted by Peverell, shouldn't it be designed for an adult and as such cover even adolescents completely?
    • Yes but it was designed for one person, not three.
    • Was it? DD mused at one point that the defining quality of the Cloak was the ability to cover other people besides the owner.
    • Maybe Peverell was just short, or lived in a time when average human height was shorter due to poor diet.
    • Moody's eye can see through it as well. Does that mean Moody's eye trumps Death?
    • The Cloak of Invisibility is greater than most invisibility cloaks, but it's still not flawless. And Dumbledore believes that the Peverells were powerful enough wizards that they actually created the Hallows themselves, rather than received them from Death.
    • My theory on that was that Harry's Cloak was perfect at the time it was created. Moody's eye could well have been developed later on, and could therefore include spells that hadn't existed when the Cloak was created, and therefore had no protection against.
    • "Invisible" is not necessarily the same as "undetectable" — you don't always need to see something to know it's there. Cats have very sharp senses, and even if Mrs. Norris couldn't see Harry, she could probably hear/smell him. As for Dementors, they're distinctly mentioned to be blind, so Invisibility Cloaks would mean nothing to them in the first place. Moody's eye is a little harder to explain, but we don't really know how it works; it's possible it can detect things differently — or, possibly, the fake Moody was lying, and he didn't actually see Harry but detected him in another way — Mad-Eye Moody was paranoid to the max, so it's not too inconceivable that he carried around several small devices or spells to let him automatically know if someone's around who's trying to stay hidden.
    • The fake Moody was Barty Crouch Jr., who would consider the young man who took out Voldermort as an infant his worst enemy. Moody definitely did possess a small device that warned him of when his enemies were approaching. He has a small mirror in the film of the book, but I believe there's a spinning-top like crystal object in the book.
    • It's also possible to go in a completely different direction and say the Cloak is more powerful than even the legends give it credit for. The trio's feet are never actually seen, they just worry they will be, the Dementors' aura reaching through the Cloak could easily be a placebo effect, Harry was imagining Mrs. Norris seeing him. As for Moody and DD seeing Harry, it's possible the cloak is actually protecting Harry by letting him be seen by people it knows will protect Harry. It all depends on whether you believe in the Cloak being made by Death: whether the cloak is super-powerful, or merely very good.
    • Well, if you'll accept an answer with crossover tendencies: According to the story, the cloak is supposedly Death's own Invisibility Cloak, the one he uses himself to avoid being seen. As we know from Discworld, Death loves cats, which is why he grants them special privileges such as nine lives, and it's repeatedly mentioned that cats can see Death. (Discworld wizards and witches can too, but they are a different breed than HP wizards and witches and are trained in noticing things that others don't.) So, basically, when Death made the cloak, he made it so that cats could see through it. He didn't think to make it so he himself would be able to see through it, because he was going to be the one wearing it.
    • It's pointed out in Deathly Hallows by Dumbledore at King's Cross that the three brothers were probably just really talented wizards, thus the cloak wasn't necessarily Death's cloak.
    • I thought that the only advantage the Hallowed invisibility cloak had was that it didn't lose its power as it aged as opposed to a regular one that starts to become opaque. As stated above it didn't really come from Death so there is no proof that it was any more impervious to anti-invisibility counter measures.
    • Actually, in Deathly Hallows, when Harry, Hermione and Ron arrive in Hogsmeade and set off the alarm the responding Death Eaters make an attempt to summon the invisibility cloak, which fails spectacularly with not even a flutter from the cloak. I think the cloak is immune to external impetus while worn, but can be 'perceived' through. Invisibility is not inaudibility, as proven again and again throughout the series, nor does it render you odorless. It simply makes you invisible. According to other books, most invisibility objects (cloaks, bags, and othersuch) are made from the fur of a certain magical creature that can turn invisible when threatened. The Peverell Cloak may just be a radical new design that no one ever figured out and which the original maker (the Peverell brother himself) didn't leave instructions for lying around for people to study and copy. Of course Mrs. Norris could perceive through it, cats have incredibly powerful senses of smell and hearing, she could probably hear Harry's heartbeat and his bones rubbing together whilst also smelling him and the cloak itself. The real advantage of the cloak is that while wearing it, even the Human Revealing Charm won't work unless you are in a position where, without a wall/floor you would already be able to see the person to some degree. Still, though, the Cloak itself is by no means perfect, it's simply very, very good.

    The most secure place in the world? 
  • The greatest teachers of magic and Dumbledore himself combine forces to protect the stone. None but the greatest of wizards can break the spells they set... Unless they happen to be first year students. Literally any defense would be better than what they created considering how easily the trio break through them all.
    • Unless the obstacles were really a test for the Trio and thus were intentionally attuned to their skills. The real protection was the Mirror, which worked fine (if the stone was genuine at all). That is, untill a certain kid went and removed the stone from it.
    • What's really sad is that Quirrellmort needed all year to figure out how to get past a Cerberus. I mean, what, did Tom flunk Care of Magical Creatures?
    • He probably didn't choose that as a third-year elective. He was hardly a "caring" sort of person, and the only magical creatures he liked were snakes, whose needs he could just ask them about as necessary. (Note that Diary-Tom underestimates Fawkes's powers, and doesn't recognize what the weeping phoenix is really doing until Harry's wound is healed entirely.) Offhand, I would guess Riddle selected Arithmancy (because of his "7" fixation) and Ancient Runes (because Salazar Slytherin, coming from the fenlands, probably knew a lot about Vikings and their runic traditions).
    • And it becomes retroactively sadder once book 2 came out, and you realize that he could have just opened up the Chamber of Secrets and siced Blinky the Basilisk on Fluffy.
    • I always assumed that because Voldemort didn't have a body he wasn't able to use all his powers and one of them would be how he controlled the basilisk or parseltounge. After all even with a host and Unicorn's blood Quirrel claims he's not strong enough to even talk to Harry.
    • The problem with that theory is that possessed!Ginny was entirely capable of opening the Chamber of Secrets, and that was with her just partially possessed by one of Tom's soul fragments, not fully possessed by Tom himself. And the basilisk didn't need any control beyond an order in Parseltongue saying 'I am the Heir of Slytherin; go forth and attack thus'.
    • That brings horcruxes into the discussion which is an entirely different ballgame. I could argue many ways with that (The Diary was designed that way, the diary has a bigger portion of Tom's soul, Voldemort's shade wasn't a horcrux and didn't even have the strength of one, etc.). Suffice to say that the canon statement by Voldemort himself was that "he was strong enough for this" (talking to Harry) meant he either didn't have the ability to get the Basilisk or didn't want to risk the attention from Dumbledore.
    • Um, all you've proven is that by canon, Quirrellmort was still able to speak with Voldemort's voice. Which is the only thing he'd need to go get the basilisk; the ability to talk.
    • The way he said it meant it was taxing on him I thought. I'd assume releasing the basilisk would be unnecessarily taxing on him when he found an easy work around and still had Dumbledore to get out of the castle before he could make his attempt on the stone.
    • Um, dealing with all of the death traps himself is an easier work-around than simply watching a reptilian eye-death-beam Godzilla smash through them all while he stands in the corner enjoying a cool butterbeer? How does that work?
    • Voldemort was trying to be as discreet as possible while stealing the stone. Remember in Order of the Pheonix when he could have taken the prophecy himself but was being ultra secretive? The diary, on the other hand, was designed to open the chamber again on top of the soul fragment comming from the first opening. It was going to release the basalisk regardless of what was going on while Voldemort himself is often (but certainly not always) a lot more careful.
    • The "discreet" part is the Idiot Ball here. Every minute Quirrellmort spends in Hogwarts is another minute he risks Dumbledore discovering that Quirrell is possessed, at which point Voldemort is stuck in a vastly weakened form and facing off against his strongest opponent. In the heart of that opponent's stronghold. Tom should have not wasted a second dithering around inside Hogwarts that he didn't absolutely need to, let alone an entire bloody year. And its an Idiot Plot both that he wasted that much time, and that Dumbledore was apparently oblivious the entire year long.
    • Dumbledore did know he was possessed though, hence him sending Snape to watch after him.
    • Something I've been wondering since reading this page, after having a year to observe Snape unnoticed, wouldn't he begin to think back to his time as a Death Eater and suspect his double agent status? The counter-curse during the Quidditch could have tipped him off and he had the school year to think it over.
    • Addressed in the "Spinner's End" chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
      "I think you next wanted to know," he pressed on, a little more loudly, for Bellatrix showed every sign of interrupting, "why I stood between the Dark Lord and the Philosopher's Stone. That is easily answered. He did not know whether he could trust me. He thought, like you, that I had turned from faithful Death Eater to Dumbledore's stooge. He was in a pitiable condition, very weak, sharing the body of a mediocre wizard. He did not dare reveal himself to a former ally if that ally might turn him over to Dumbledore or the Ministry. I deeply regret that he did not trust me. He would have returned to power three years sooner. As it was, I saw only greedy and unworthy Quirrell attempting to steal the stone and, I admit, I did all I could to thwart him."
    • I see what you mean, but I think that only gives Snape an out for why he didn't help Voldemort get the stone. Unless he's incredibly skilled at Occlumency and practices it even when he doesn't know if a Legilimens may be around, I don't see how Voldemort couldn't put two and two together.
    • Who said anything about "unnoticed" and "doesn't know"? Both Snape and DD obviously knew who Quirrel really was, so they were letting him know only as much as he was supposed to in order to play his part in DD's game.
    • Dumbledore's own mind melting stupidity in knowingly letting Voldemort walk around his school all year is in another Headscratchers, and doesn't really do much to make the storyline look better overall. The point right now is that Voldemort did not know that he'd already been spotted, so its a plot hole that he'd stay low and act like he did.
    • There is the possible explanation that the ability to speak Parseltongue is linked to your very soul; which means Voldy would have lost it while making a horcrux of his diary, and could only use it again after it came back to him (once resurrected), the diary destroyed.
    • Theory not tenable. Harry and Possessed!Ginny both simultaneously use Parseltongue in the same book. Harry and Tom also both use Parseltongue, up until the soul fragment is removed from Harry's forehead. Therefore, possessing any soul fragment of Voldemort lets you use Tom's Parseltongue gift, not just that one particular diary fragment, and one of Tom's soul fragments is always with Tom himself.
    • Soul-fragments don't re-unite with their source when a Horcrux is destroyed, they're just gone. That's why Voldemort had no idea his Horcruxes were being destroyed until the end, and why the helpless thing Harry saw in the train station during his near-death experience was such a mangled mess.
    • Quirrell wasn't a descendent of Slytherin, so the basilisk would have no cause to obey him, and might eat him on sight before Voldemort's face had a chance to speak. Diary-Tom was willing to try to control the creature through Ginny's possessed body, because he couldn't care less if she died in the attempt, but Voldemort certainly didn't want to gamble his tentative grip upon existence on a long-imprisoned monster's appetite.
    • Err, why not? It's not as if Quirrell's death will be anything but an inconvenience to Voldemort; we wouldn't have had six more books if Tom couldn't outlive the death of Quirrell's body just fine. Plus, Ginny's example shows that the Basilisk can entirely be controlled by someone who is not a blood descendant of Slytherin, if they can speak parseltongue and are being possessed by the soul fragment of someone who was.
    • To answer the OP, I always felt that it had less to do with the difficulty of each task or more to do with the skill level needed for each one. Yes, three first years passed them, but THREE of them were needed. You have seven challenges, each requiring the person to get past them to be proficient in a specific area. First one has to get in the castle, not an easy feat since Hogwarts is shown to have very good protections, then you have to locate where the stone is. Then there's Fluffy. Once one finds out that Hagrid provided Fluffy, getting past the dog would be easier, since Hagrid can't keep a secret. Then you have the Devil's Snare, which takes either someone who reads a lot and happens to have read about that particular plant, or a Herbology expert. Then you have the keys, which takes a person whose fairly athletic and can figure out which key it is. In the book, Harry notices that one key has a slightly crumpled wing, which tells him which one it is. Without that crumpled wing, it's more trial and error (I'm assuming more than one is old and silver), then the chessboard which takes a specific skill set. Ron is shown to be a master at chess, which isn't an easy thing to become. The troll is taken care of for them (and said to be much bigger and nastier looking than the one at Halloween). The potions and riddle takes logic and then there's the mirror, and then of course getting back out after the mirror. So basically, just for the tasks alone (not mentioning the castle) you need someone who is sneaky enough to get figure out Hagrid ownes Fluffy, reads a lot/is a Herbology expert, is highly athletic, a chess master, good at defensive spells, and highly logical just to get to the mirror. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised Quirrel so proficient in all those areas.

    Muggles can't know about wizards, I thought? 
  • So, this was... probably mentioned in the movies, but I don't recall. I thought that muggles were to never know about magic even existing. Does this not apply to the family of wizards? Harry's guardians absolutely outright know all about Wizards and magic, to the point they fear Harry for it. In addition, it's implied that they knew about magic because of Harry's mother, before they were guardians of him. Hermione is muggle born, so I assume her parents must know about the school, magic and wizards as well, because how else would an 11 year old get to the train station and pay for all of their supplies? If family IS excused from it, then why is it in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry's aunt has her memory erased because Harry accidently cast that balloon spell on her?
    • Well, Aunt Marge isn't very closely related to Harry. She's his uncle-by-marriage's sister. Technically, Harry's not related to her at all.
    • Moreover, while the Dursleys are too ashamed of Harry to admit he's a wizard to anyone else, Marge seems like the sort to go complaining about what happened to anyone who'll hold still long enough. She poses a security risk that the Dursleys don't.
    • Also, its simply not practical to try and keep the Dursleys ignorant of magic; they live in the same house Harry does, and they have to sign his Hogwarts permission slips and suchlike. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, is not a member of the immediate household, just an occasional visitor. She has no more "need-to-know" about Harry's wizard status than the next-door neighbors do.
    • I would assume that the magical child's immediate family would be allowed to know about magic considering a wizard lives under the same roof as them. Also there might be some sort of magical contract requiring them not to breath a word to anyone about magic. Although as it was put to the Prime Minister by Fudge in HBP, if they did know about magic who would they tell without looking crazy, that is who would believe them? Aunt Marge is probably excluded from having to know about magic seeing as she doesn't live with Harry. And how do parents tell the gov't where their child(ren) has been all year? There are probably wizards in the muggle ministry who take care of this stuff plus, y'know, it's magic.
    • Sure, but if it's only immediate family, why did the aunt and uncle Harry lives with now know about his deceased parents being a witch/wizard, but not the one he cast the balloon spell on? It's implied in the first movie that they have always known that Harry's parents were magically inclined, so are brothers and sisters allowed to know too? If so, why only some? Secondly, sure, maybe it's possible that every country in the world that has a school attending child wizard has a state employee able to doctor records to make things look innocent (though I doubt that), but what about neighbors? Live somewhere for 12 years, raising a child, then as soon as they turn 11, poof, gone for 9 months every year until they turn 18? Seems unlikely in the extreme that it would never be reported. And sure, a wizard did it... but what did they do?
    • I'm a bit confused at what you're asking but Vernon would know about wizardry because he lives with Harry, as Petunia lived with Lily. I always assumed that Vernon didn't know the extent as to which Harry's parents were wizards and before Harry was given to them because petunia just told him that her sister and her husband were really weird. Marge wouldn't be included in the magical loop because she doesn't live with any witch or wizard. And one could just easily tell their neighbors that their kid is off at some expensive boarding school, just not specify that it's one for magic. And who's to say that it's never reported a kid being gone nine months out of a year, but wizards in the muggle ministry could easily just gloss over this with magic or paper work and such.
    • Yes, but as I said, the first movie makes it very clear that Vernon and Petunia have known Harry's parents were a witch and wizard. She explains that is exactly why she had such a seething hatred for both of them, and for Harry, because she's known all along that when he turns 11 he will be going to magic school. But why were they allowed to know before he turned 11 and went to school? Does that not break the rule of muggles knowing about wizards and magic? And sure, lie about going to boarding school, but what happens when the kid tries to apply to go to real college or something? You can't fake going to a school on a job application. And again, sure, wizards in the "muggle ministry" could gloss over it with paper work, but I find it highly unlikely that every country in the entire world has a high ranking wizard in that country's respective child services department.
    • According to Pottermore Vernon knows that his wife's sister and the sister's family (ie James) were all magical since Petuina told him tearly in his car when they were having a after-movie snack.
    • "And sure, lie about going to boarding school, but what happens when the kid tries to apply to go to real college or something?" - they fix all the neccessarry papers with magic and/or Confound the respective officials to accept them. That is of course if they do apply to non-wiz colleges or jobs at all, and why would they?
    • Someone has to be designing and building all the architecture for these massive castles. Must be at least one wizard running around with a degree in engineering.
    • Or maybe they just create them. With magic. IF magic cannot trump the strength of materials, it's shitty magic.
    • It could simply be that building everything out of magic is regarded as impractical. In fact Wizards, like Muggles, probably use their tools (magic) to construct fairly mundane structures and then make them more functional with various installations (enchantments)as needed because that's simply the cheapest way to get a good comfortable house or shop or school built.
    • Well, even if you can manipulate materials with magic, someone still has to do design work. Just like if you create a building with CGI, which gives you unlimited materials and scale, you still have to design it.
    • Or a Muggleborn or half-blood asks their architect parent or sibling, who's in-the-know already, to design it for them.
    • Couldn't a wizard-university provide engineering classes? They have Healers (aka, their own versions of doctors) so what's to say wizards don't have their own versions of architects and engineers?
    • For most of human history artchitects and engineers were trained in something more like a master apprentice system rather than in university. It works well enough for some fields. Wizards might also contract out to more mechanically minded beings for their construction work.
    • "Yes, but as I said, the first movie makes it very clear that Vernon and Petunia have known Harry's parents were a witch and wizard. She explains that is exactly why she had such a seething hatred for both of them, and for Harry, because she's known all along that when he turns 11 he will be going to magic school. But why were they allowed to know before he turned 11 and went to school? Does that not break the rule of muggles knowing about wizards and magic?" Petunia knew Lily (Harry's mother) was a witch because Lily was her sister, so she's covered by the immediate family exception. And Vernon knows because Petunia told him.
    • Right, that's my point. If Petunia was allowed to know Lily was a witch, why was her other sister, the one turned into a balloon by Harry, NOT allowed to know?
    • Marge is Vernon's sister, not Petunia's sister. This is clearly explained in the books, and in the film she says, "Damn good of my brother to keep you. He'd have been straight to an orphanage if he'd been dumped on my doorstep, Vernon."
    • Has anyone considered the fact that Marge was likely mind-wiped because of the nature of the incident, not the fact that Harry's wizard? There's no point obliviating Petunia, Vernon and Dudley because they're already fully in the know but this is not the kind of ituation you want to be a muggle' first impression of the wizarding world.
    • I was wondering about that also, until a sudden case of Fridge Logic: Why would Vernon even THINK about saying that to Marge, he is embarassed to death by the fact that Harry is a wizard. For him it would be like admitting that Harry is a gay delinquent going to art school except 10 times worse. Not to mention the fact that he is practically a reality warper that has every right to turn her into a bug and stomp on her for all the crap she put him through.
    • I'm not really sure what the issue is here. Wizards' and witches' immediate families are allowed to know about magic but they can't spread it around too much. (They're also allowed to marry muggles and tell them, viz. Seamus' parents.) No-one's going to report parents for child abuse if they send their kids to boarding school (especially if they don't notice the child's undernourished and doesn't get much sun...) and they come home for holidays (Hermione and other students go home for Christmas). The point about qualifications is an interesting one but presumably most of them will get jobs in the magical world where their Hogwarts qualifications are enough. Anything else they could probably use a confundus spell for and we've seen the Ministry slip wizards into positions where they can keep an eye on things in the past. By the last book, they've even got an agent in the post office, so muggles who know about magic can send letters to Hogwarts and get a reply.
    • It's possible that Vernon technically shouldn't have been allowed to know the truth before Harry came to live with the Dursleys, being only a witch's brother-in-law, but the only wizards who knew that Petunia had told him (James, Lily, Dumbledore) wouldn't have considered it a serious matter.
    • Actually I think that Veron as a BIL to a witch should have been aware of that. Espically that if they had a good relation (unlike the one they ended up prior to James and Lilly's death), that if magic happened with Lilly and James' children (L&J might have wanted more then one) that they would be in the know.
    • There's also the possibility that, had Petunia married someone else, HER children could have been magical.

    Child Services 

  • Furthermore, how do parents explain to the government/child services where their children are all year? Obviously, they can't just say "oh, they're learning to be a wizard." Maybe Europe is different, but in the US you can't just not register an 11 year old for some kind of school. Doing so would raise a lot of questions, and then further being unable to prove the kid is still around/alive would start a manhunt and trial to rival Casey Anthony.
    • Well, the mundane British government does know of the existence of the magical world, at least at the very highest levels. It is possible that the wizarding world is getting help from the Muggle end re: official cover-ups and plausible paperwork excuses.
    • Could also be a case of Hogwarts being registered as a different kind of school in the muggle world. Could even be under a different name. Sort of like Xavier's School for Gift Youngsters in X-Men is actually a school for mutants. This way, when kids join, the muggle government still sees on record that they're recieving an education.
    • "Oh, my son's at Hogwarts. It's a boarding school for the gifted." Not exactly a lie, there...
    • That's pretty much what happens in Half-Blood Prince; when someone from Tom Riddle's orphanage asks Dumbledore about Hogwarts and how Tom was picked to go there, he basically picks up a blank piece of paper, taps it with his wand, and hands it to her and she never questions it. Do that on a much higher level, all questions are answered.

    Sweeping the Chess Board - Literally 
  • Another thing that bugged me about the chess match was that literally a minute before, the characters were flying around on broomsticks. No reason is given why they can't go back, grab the broomsticks, and just fly over the chessboard. Especially since it is assumed that Ron and Hermione used the broomsticks to get back up to where Fluffy was.
    • For the same reason that Mega Man doesn't keep his weapons between games. It's not allowed by the rules. Would you want to cheat and risk setting off whatever magical rules enforcement was in place?
    • It's also possible that by "we have to play to get through", they meant "we have to play or we can't get through the door due to locks/wards/it's not there". It's never stated that the chess pieces are physically blocking them.
    • Part of the problem could be that The Movie makes it look as though the chess pieces are the only things standing between them and the exit. This very discussion even comes up in the Rifftrax for the movie. One thing to remember is that the chess board was the defense set up by McGonnagal, who's [more than] a smart enough cookie to have foreseen the "why don't we just fly past the chessmen" thing and figured out a way to prevent it.

    Wizarding Currency is Just Plain Knuts 
  • Two things that just bug me about wizarding money: bronze Knuts, silver Sickles, and gold Galleons are the only currency mentioned. So what happens if you want to buy something that costs, say, a hundred Galleons. Do you dump a hundred gold coins down on the counter? Also, clearly there's no such thing as interest or loans in the wizarding world - the bank can't invest your money for profit, since it's just stuck in a vault all the time.
    • I always assumed that it was that the wizards just aren't very modern, so they stayed with gold instead of paper currency like a good portion of the world. Interest and loans would be hard to keep track of for all those people, since it's implied that Gringotts is the only bank.
    • Banks can't give customers interest if the gold must stay stashed in vaults. Banks make money by taking money saved in them and investing it elsewhere, keeping enough to cover some amount of withdraws. Gringotts may work more like a safe deposit service: they keep your valuables safe for you for a charge. They could also charge for other financial services.
    • I think there's a bit of misunderstanding about banks here. Banks have never made loans by literally taking money out of a person's personal account to give to a debtor. Even hundreds of years ago, banks were writing checks to one another, backed by their reputations, to represent the exchange of balances in their accounts and credit extended. Gringott's being the premier wizarding bank could easily be facilitating investment by simply shuffling money between vaults as instructed by a never ending stream of paper checks and accounting ledgers. It would make sense seeing as it would suit the sort of victorian aesthetic of the wealthy pureblood families banking on reputations. But that's kind of beyond the scope of HP's story.
    • We don't get to see a lot about how Gringotts is run. We see very few vaults over the books, and even then, not much is shown about the extent of them. The bag of holding that Hermione has in the seventh book leads me to believe that if you're going to make large purchases, you'll have one of them for money or have a way to transfer funds in the vaults for this purpose. We know that Harry has a trust set up for him, but we don't know if he has other vaults for him that have investments that he's too young to inherit.
    • Bill works for Gringotts as a treasure hunter. Presumably he's paid for his work, and the money has to come from somewhere. The goblins pay to finance treasure hunting expeditions, sell the treasure, give part of the proceeds to bank members as interest, and pocket the rest. Basically the same way that real banks do, except with a suitably fantasy feel rather than boring stocks and bonds and shit.
    • Bill's wages were probably a percentage of whatever treasure he brought it. "Treasure Hunter" sounds like it would be commission-based.
    • I thought Bill was a curse-breaker for Gringotts?
    • That's the job title. He breaks curses on old vaults (such as ancient Egyptian tombs) and hauls off the treasure inside.
    • How about the whole division of the currencies? 29 Knuts to a Sickle, 17 Sickles to a Galleon. What's wrong with base 10?
    • It's not magical enough!
    • 29 and 17 are prime numbers, which (according to the Babylonians, whose obsession with seven is strikingly similar to Tom Riddle's) are magical enough. So... what they (^^^) said.
    • The author is from the UK. Their currency used to have 2 Ha'pennies to a Penny; 3 Pennies to a Thrupenny Bit; 2 Sixpences to a Shilling; 240 Pennies to a Pound; 1 Pound AND 1 Shilling to a Guinea. Wizarding currency is comparatively simple.
    • Basically, pounds, shillings, and pence (Lsd) - 1 pound = 20 shillings = 240 pence (1 shilling = 12 pence). There were also half penny (ha'penny) and quarter penny (farthing) coins. "3 pennies to a thrupenny bit" isn't an extra complication - it's about as straightforward as "five cents to a five-cent piece". "Sixpence" means exactly what it says. "Tanners" (a sixpence), "crowns" (5 shillings), "half-crowns" (2s 6d), and so on were just nicknames for coins, along the lines of "nickel" or "dime". Guineas are an added complication, but I believe they were a way of adding a standard commission on to prices - some trades worked in guineas and the extra shilling was for a specific purpose. Oh, and the older Imperial measures weren't in base 10 because they were based on having as many simple factors as you could, so that it was easy to calculate in your head. (240 divides by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 ...; 100 divides only by 2, 4, 5, 10 ...). The wizard standard might seem less complicated in some ways, but by choosing prime number multiples, it blatantly (deliberately?) fails that criterion.
    • Fridge Brilliance. Choosing prime number multiples makes the system ridiculously complicated. But if you know the old British currency system, the wizarding system is a hilarious parody.
    • Fridge Brilliance #2. That's how wizards learn math.
    • Fridge Brilliance #3. Wizards don't pay much heed to logic, what with magic being an antithesis to science and all.
    • As for your "hundred Galleons" complaint, what if you want to buy a 20,000 dollar car with cash? (Yes, I know you wouldn't do that, but there are no wizard credit cards.) I guess you would go to your local bank and take out a twenty thousand dollar bi- oh wait, those don't exist. Guess you're stuck with 200 hundred dollar bills.
    • There's a difference between lugging around a sack filled with gold coins and 200 grams of paper.
    • What says wizards don't have some sort of check books?
    • I know it's petty, but just before Hagrid's explanation of the currency, a passerby complains that Dragon Liver is now 17 sickles an ounce; shouldn't she say a galleon? We don't say a hundred pence instead of a pound. (Or cents to a dollar, etc.)
    • Ever stop to think that maybe she was complaining because it said 17 sickles instead of a galleon?
    • To answer the second note, the tone indicates that she was complaining about the price. To the first, it's basically like saying something costs 99 cents instead of a dollar. It sounds cheaper, despite the fact that it really isn't. So the sign was marked 17 sickles rather than a galleon.
    • 99 cents instead of a dollar is cheaper. It's just by such an inconsequential margin that you'd have to buy a ludicrous number of items to see any significant savings from it.
    • I always took it as she said "17 Sickles" rather than "1 Galleon" because that made it sound more outrageously expensive. Kind of like how someone might say "I had to wait four weeks" rather than "I had to wait one month." The larger number makes it sound bigger, even though the two statements are equivalent.
    • In later editions of the book, it's changed to sixteen sickles.
    • If she was comparing the current price to the past one, and the past price was seven or so sickles, then it's fairly easy for her to state the new price in sickles too. Especially if she's ranting and thus more prone to slip verbally. It's like saying that something "cost 7 hundreds of pounds in the past" and then saying it "costs 20 hundreds of pounds now" instead of "costs 2 thousands of pounds"; not the most common of occurrences, but you can't say nobody ever did that.
    • For a real world comparison, fuel prices in Australia are shown as cents to the litre. It rarely ever goes below 100 cents anymore, but in discussion we do say 120 instead of 1 dollar 20 cents. As the comment above said as well, it helps if the price fluctuates between an amount of sickles up to and past a galleon.

    Nice Job Breaking the Mirror, Harry! 
  • If the stone could only be retrieved by someone who didn't want to use it, then it would have been perfectly safe if Harry hadn't done anything, and was only put within Voldemort's reach because Harry was trying to stop him.
    • Which was why Dumbledore had such horrible defenses set up before the final trap. He wanted whoever was after the stone to be trapped on the last protection and be stuck there for him to catch. He was only worried when he found out that the Trio had gone after the stone, knowing they might mess up his plan. In hindsight, Harry really screwed up, but had no way of knowing it.
    • Alternatively, I think Quirrell would've gotten the stone if Harry hadn't come along. He was a genius, after all, who'd beaten all the other challenges, and he was already working on this one, and Voldemort could have chimed in. He could have either found a way to steal the mirror (teleport it away, transmute it into something portable) and solve it at his leisure, or dispelled the enchantment, or figured out how it worked and beaten it using a Memory Gambit, or that super-powerful Confundus Charm that worked on the Goblet of Fire, or an animated statue programmed to desire the Stone.
    • You're giving Quirrell too much credit. He was a jackass plagued by cupidity. That's why he stubbornly clung to a guy who was charring him to death even after he knew it was killing him. Remember that his best solution up to that point, before Voldemort chimed in with a better one, had been to *break* the mirror, which would have nixed the whole game.
    • We're not really shown any of Quirrell's genius in the book. Getting to the mirror doesn't prove anything, as three first years can do it, too.
    • Quirrell is being advised at every step of the way by Lord Voldemort, one of the two most brilliant wizards extant. He could be a trained monkey and the Stone is still in genuine danger. If nothing else, Quirrell could simply have put the entire Mirror in one of those bigger-on-the-inside-than-the-outside containers (or shrank it down, or etc.), and hauled it off to Villainous Lair #212 to be safecracked at Voldemort's leisure.
    • Again, Quirrell was so deperate he was prepared to smash the mirror. That's it - he was out of options. There is no way out of it - the stone was safe, and Harry endangered it by going after it (if it was real, of course). And then got the House Cup for it.
    • Why? Harry may have been "brave" (aka reckless) but he was also just plain stupid. The Stone would've been fine if he hadn't done anything, so why the heck does Dumbledore reward him? If anything he should have gotten a severe talking-to.
    • The Trio didn't know that Harry would be necessary to get the Stone out of the mirror because they, get this, hadn't been exposed to that information. You see, there's this concept called "theory of mind" — just because you know something doesn't mean everyone does. Incredible, no?
    • Quirrell might have been prepared to smash the mirror but Voldemort clearly knows the trick, since he immediately tells him to use Harry and realises it worked when Quirrell just throws him aside in disgust. It's possible that if Harry hadn't been there to turn the tables, they might have found someone else to get the stone out of the mirror for them, who wasn't as resourceful and didn't have a protective curse in their skin.
    • V clearly doesn't "know the trick", otherwise Quirrell would've known it as well. It was a flash of inspiration or, on the contrary, resignation: "hey, the kid is here anyway, why not try and use him before we kill him?" As for "founding someone else"... ... ... words fail me. Can you honestly tell me you can envision them getting out of the chamber, snatching some other kid, then repeating the whole obstacle course again, and all that without anyone noticing and in time before DD realises he'd been duped and returns, which, unlike the kids, V knows he could do instantly? Not to mention that whoever they might snatch will most likely just wish to escape alive, not extract the stone, meaning the mirror (that reacts you your innermost wish) will not work.
    • Why would Quirrell know it just because Voldemort does? He's hardly in Voldemort's league and if they know everything the other does, why would they be talking to each other (a)out loud or (b)at all? As someone mentioned earlier, they wouldn't need to drag anyone down to the chamber, they'd just need to get the mirror to a place of safety where they could kidnap a noble but useless wizard at their leisure. ("What's Hagrid doing today?") Harry surely can't be such a unique and extraordinary individual that he's the only wizard in existence who's greatest desire is "Stop Voldemort getting the stone" rather than "Please don't kill me, Mr You Know Who, sir..."
    • "Why would Quirrel know..." Because V would've certainly told him if he knew a way. "get the mirror to a place of safety..." Again, try to envision what you're saying. So, Quirrell "just" has to drag a huge-ass mirror out of the chamber through the whole school and school grounds and then...somewhere (where?) without anyone seeing him and in time before DD crashes on his head. That is assuming that the mirror is not fixed to the floor, and that he will be able to either shrink it to fit through the doors or blast through the walls of the gauntlet. And even, EVEN if he manages all that, then what? How is he even supposed to find the right individual, and what "leisure" are you talking about, when all the Aurors in the UK will be on his tail? And even then it will still not work. You know why? Because "stopping Voldemort from getting the stone" does not involve removing the stone from the mirror. So if a noble wizard looks into the mirror, he will see himself apprehending Quirrell or escaping or dying with honor or ANYTHING other than fuck up the perfect protection and deliver the stone into V's hands. So, yes, it does take a unique and extraordinary well-intentioned idiot whose greatest fear, apparently, is that the matters might resolve without his interference and that other people might actually know what they're doing.
    • I've thought about this far more than I should and...it doesn't make sense. Firstly, why can't Quirrell get the stone? Dumbledore says the mirror will give it up to someone who wants to find it but not use it. Quirrell doesn't want to use it (he even says the mirror shows him presenting the stone to Voldemort) so why doesn't he qualify? Secondly, by the same token, why does it give Harry the stone rather than just showing him giving the stone back to Dumbledore or whatever? So if we apply Fridge Logic to the point it verges on Wild Mass Guessing: Because that was what Dumbledore wanted. We know from later books that he was preparing Harry for a final confrontation with Voldemort, we know he was already suspicious of Quirrell and knew about Harry being protected. So...he sets the mirror so it will only give up the stone to Harry, tells Hagrid everything Harry needs to know and waits for him to let it slip, then disappears from the castle at a crucial moment so Harry has to act himself, knowing that there's no way Voldemort can harm Harry and thus no way he can get the stone off him, thus manufacturing a situation where there was no way Harry could lose but he and everyone else will think he's been a hero and setting him on the path Dumbledore intended.
    • Quirrell did want to use the stone, just not in the typical way. He wanted to use it to satisfy Voldemort's demands upon him, which would hopefully get the evil possessing face off the back of his head and earn him whatever reward might be forthcoming.
    • While this is what most likely happened, the "no way Voldemort can harm" and "no way Harry could lose" parts seem veeeery dubius to me. Ok, Quirrel couldn't physically touch him... so what? We've seen that he still could cast spells on him - like ropes to entangle him. So what would happen if he decided to "entangle", say, his throat? Would the protection kick in in the exact moment the pressure would become harmful? When is that? Or levitate a slab of stone over his head and then cancel the spell? He wouldn't be the one killing the kid - gravity would. Or cast Imperius on him and make him give away the stone? Or just slice his robe open or Summon it (shut up, slashers) and take the stone out of it? Or keep him entangled in the ropes and take the stone out of his pocket? Hell, even his inability to touch the kid was inconsistent! After Harry lies about what he sees in the Mirror, what does Quirrel do? That's right, he pushes the kid away from it. So this whole scene is Barely Sensible.

    Hermione Can't Admit She Went to the Bathroom? 
  • Why on Earth did Hermione tell Professor McGonagall that she had gone after the mountain troll? The idea, I take it, is that she lied to save Harry and Ron from getting into trouble, which shows Character Development. But, if she'd told the truth, then none of them would have gotten into trouble. Would it really be that humiliating to admit that she didn't know about the troll because she was crying in the bathroom?
    • It's possible that Ron may have gotten in trouble for having said what he did to Hermione.
    • Also, imagine you're a prideful eleven year old girl who worships your teachers, who has just been saved from certain death by two of your (up until that point) enemies because you were crying in the toilets over something mean they said to you. When it comes time to explain what happened, are you really all that inclined to jump up and say, "Yeah, I was sobbing like a little girl in the bathroom because someone said something mean to me, and I nearly died because I'm too sensitive." Hm... no, I can't blame Hermione for lying about why she was in there. Granted, just saying, "I was in the bathroom" without qualifiers might have worked better, but I doubt she thought of that.
    • She didn't know if McGonagall would take the truth as "one innocent bystander getting into trouble and two heroes saving her = 0 + 20 + 20 points", or as "three idiots got into trouble = -20 -20 -20 points". She portrayed herself as an idiot, and the other two as heroes, therefore balanced the chances.
    • It's also possible that she figured that Ron and Harry would have gotten in trouble for confronting the troll/going to rescue Hermione instead of going to a Prefect or Teacher for help. The way she told it, she implied that she was in much more immediate danger, and thus they had no choice but to go after her themselves.
    • I always took this as solidifying the new friendship between them — she could have made herself an innocent bystander, but she took the route of "we're all in this together."
    • She didn't even need to say she was crying in the bathroom - all she has to say is that she was in the bathroom when the other students were told about the troll. Hardly any time elapses between the students finding out about the troll and Harry and Ron going to find Hermione in the bathroom, so it would have been a plausible story to say that she was in the bathroom all this time.
    • Genius or not, Hermione is twelve years old when she says that. Kids who lie tend to overembellish their stories.
    • And, I think this is a pretty good character detail for Hermione. She could have said she was in the bathroom because she was, oh, homesick or something, but instead she makes up this story about wanting to fight the troll on her own. Which to me says something very specific about Hermione; she would rather be told off for being reckless and arrogant than admit to her Head of House that she had been crying and possibly be looked at as weak. The girl is a true Gryffindor.
    • have to make a point here. This is what happens: Ron says "She got no Friends", Hermione brushes past them and (according to I think Lavender/Partiv?)she (Hermione) is crying in a girls' washroom, Quirrel comes in and announces the troll, Percy (and other perfects) start leading the students away from the Great Hall, Harry and Ron stop...and go to try to find her, they lock the troll in what (they) thought was an empty room, and as they walk away, there is a scream (Hermione's), SO THE ROOM THEY JUST LOCKED UP WAS THE GIRL'S WASHROOM!. So they might have lost points for locking up the troll in the Girl's washroom (but then considering the washroom didn't have a Girl's sign on them supposedly how would they know? That's a good question HOW DO they know what's a girls' vs. a Boys' washroom? Since Ron says the washroom in the 2nd book 1st attack is a girl's washroom, but they don't know..??
    • They saw a Troll walk into a room, and without stopping to think, ran over and locked the door. They probably didn't even look at any part of the door aside from the key sticking out of the keyhole. Are you really that surprised that a pair of 11 year olds trying to play the hero weren't paying attention to their surroundings?
    • Incidentally, why was there a key in the lock for the girls' washroom, anyway? There are wards at Hogwarts that keep boys from entering girls-only rooms, so it's not likely they'd keep the room locked by default and make all the girls use keys to enter it, like a filling station's restroom.
    • The key is probably why they thought it would be okay to lock the troll in - Why would they have a key in a bathroom door and risk someone being locked in?
    • It appears to apply only to bedrooms, as Ron and Harry were perfectly capable of entering both this bathroom and Moaning Myrtle's.

    You'll Never Catch My Magic Flying Key! 
  • I don't quite get the idea behind having flying magical keys as a security feature. Granted, it may be tricky to spot the key you need, but wouldn't it be simpler for Dumbledore to keep the key in his possession? Similarly, the potion puzzle. Why actually have the necessary potion there at all? Why not make them all poison (or a knockout potion so you can capture and interrogate the person trying to steal the stone), and Dumbledore can just carry the required potion with him. Presumably, he's the only person who would ever need to retrieve the stone at any point, so why increase the chances of someone else being able to reach it?
    • Quirrell/Voldemort clearly didn't need the potion, since the potion was still there for Harry and Hermione to take. He might not have needed the key, either, but at that point was trying to be at least a little bit subtle and not just blast his way through. I don't think the challenges were there to stop someone getting in, they were there to only let someone through who could stand a reasonable chance of stopping the Stone thief.
    • I thought Quirrellmort had drunk the part of the potion he needed, and that was the reason there was so little of it left for Harry to take. Or else, the potion replenishes.
    • There is also the theory that Dumbledore set the whole challenge up as a trap for Voldemort, only wanting him to get to the final chamber, then arrive and talk or try to delay his return. Harry being there wasn't part of the plan and it came as a surprise. The reason why he didn't put a knockout potion would be because Voldemort, knowing as much as he does about magic, would probably recognize it and realize it's a trap and leave.
    • Since the above theory makes absolultely no sense on too many levels to even bother listing, I presume that the polar opposite took place. The only real protection was the mirror (and it worked perfectly). The rest was designed as a decoy and an obstacle course ("baptism by fire", so to say) for H&H&R. The challenges corresponded to the Trio's strengths: Harry's flying skill, Ron's mastery in chess, and Hermione's logic prowess - and they ensured that only Harry, who was invincible to V, would get to the end and face his nemesis in person.
    • This is almost canon. From the last chapter:
    "D'you think he meant you to do it?" said Ron. "Sending you your father's cloak and everything?"
    "Well," Hermione exploded, "if he did — I mean to say that's terrible — you could have been killed."
    "No, it isn't," said Harry thoughtfully. "He's a funny man, Dumbledore. I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance."
    • The "trap" theory actually does work well. Someone would get through all the obstacles, get the stone, but then they wouldn't be able to get back though the fire. Thus they'd be stuck in the Chamber and either starve to death, or have someone find them and arrest them.
    • It was a trap for Voldemort, but Harry going after him was not a screw up - it was the plan all along. All Dumbledore knows at this point is that the prophecy has Harry or Voldemort killing the other, and that Lily's sacrifice prevents the latter from winning. Dumbledore was trying to kill Voldemort right there, nothing else. By setting the game up so that both of them would end up in that chamber alone, he was trying to tempt Voldemort into attacking Harry and, via Lily's protection, kill himself. This had been his plan from the very beginning, and he only changed tactics when he realised that Voldemort had at least one Horcrux the following year.

    Nicolas Flamel, the Stingy Bastard! 
  • Why did Flamel keep the recipe for the stone a secret? People hate Voldemort for killing a few people for what's admittedly a pretty good reason. Flamel killed everyone for no reason. It can't be that he's just against immortality. He used the stone.
    • It's doubtful that the Harry Potter version of the stone uses the same ingredients as the stones from Fullmetal Alchemist. It's never stated once in the series that the Philosopher Stone requires mass human sacrifice. And Voldemort killed a lot of people, not just the six he murdered to create his Horcruxes.
    • Say Flamel decided that the time wasn't right to share the Elixir when it was first created. That was 600 years ago. 600 years of life, not to mention living through industrialisation, multiple wars (including World War II and the horrors that came with it), revolutions, riots, unrest, religious fever and persecution of whatever minority happened to be out of favour, would likely bring him to the conclusion that humanity doesn't DESERVE eternal life. And before you say 'no one should have the right to make that judgement', a 600-year-old man/couple is certainly going to feel like they have the right.
    • One of the major themes of the books is that death is a natural part of life that must be accepted and not feared. Dumbledore believes this, Nick thinks his choice to hang around as a ghost was the wrong and cowardly one, the series's main villian is obsessed with becoming immortal, etc... so it would have gone against the books' message to use the Elixir like that. Mind you, from a non-meta perspective, Flamel really does come across as a jerk for not even giving people the choice to extend their lifespan for as long as they wanted to by spreading the knowledge behind the stone and Elixir far and wide, thus condemning them to an early death. Also, for the people who disagree with the idea that granting people immortality is a good thing, I'd recommend reading this essay advocating an alternative viewpoint.
    • If he truly believed that, then he wouldn't have used the stone for six hundred years.
    • While I'm at it, Dumbledore and at least one of the Goblins at Gringotts (possibly all of them) were capable of releasing, if not the recipe for the stone, at least the stone itself. How come none of them did? And nobody called any of them out on it, including Harry and Ron, who thought Flamel was crazy for wanting to die.
    • Let's say the goblins do steal that shit. The entire economy would collapse. The reason that people keep things in Gringotts is because it's mad secure. There's basically no way of getting in there, and the goblins are trustworthy and bound by contracts. Their opinions on how contracts work could use some fine tuning, but they don't break them. The second they start stealing shit from wizards is the second that people stop using that bank. Wizards don't like goblins as it is. More often than not, they're on opposite sides of a war. So basically what you're suggesting is that, for one little trinket, they should bring down the global wizarding economy and start up a war that is likely to take thousands of lives on either side, less than ten years after the end of the last war that did the same thing. Brilliant.
    • It's not a "little trinket". It's something that, if it could be reverse-engineered and distributed, could save thousands or millions of lives that end each year (depending on how many of those deaths are from old age and how many people would be willing to take the Elixir). It would change the world in far more noticeable a fashion than a little messing around with the wizard economy would.
    • I'm pretty sure the Elixir doesn't just work for old age. They listed ways to kill someone using it, which would be unnecessary if you could just kill them normally.
    • If it does, then it's pretty pointless, seeing as how death by old age is about as common as death by malevolent robots.
    • As has already been pointed out: everyone dies. Old age is a better way to go than starvation or being killed in a war over farmland. Most families I know have roughly three generations living. Generally the grandparents die around the time the grandkids grow up and start making a fourth generation. If everyone lives long enough to see their great-grandkids growing up, there are now four generations where there were once three. And still nobody has to die, so soon there are five generations. Six. Seven generations and hardly anybody's even 200 yet. This means we need to be growing over twice as much food, and extra labour's no problem but where's the extra land? And this is assuming people have the same number of kids! Does the elixir make you sterile? Does it not work before menopause? I hope so, because the stone was created around 1400 and reliable muggle contraception was invented rather later. Everybody dies. It's sad, but it's so. The philosopher's stone can't stop that, it can only make sure that resources are more stretched so people can stick around to experience more hardship and deprivation. Maybe Nicholas Flamel just didn't hate people enough to want to create that situation.
    • There are very, very few ways to die that are worse than old age. It may not be as intense as, say, crucifixion, but it lasts much, much longer. Just let everyone live youthfully for, say 100 years, then kill them. As for the extra people, it's equivalent to having two more kids each generation. There is a problem, but letting everyone die barely delays it.
    • I don't think they'd start a war against the Goblins for giving them immortality. They're also unlikely to stop using the bank because it was robbed once. It's still safer than anywhere else. Especially if you're not putting something so insanely valuable in there.
    • Robbed once by goblins. If you had something in a safety deposit box of exceptional value and found out that the owners of the bank had just flat out stolen it behind your back, how popular do you think that bank would be? Regardless, how do you know that the Goblins are going to share that information with wizards? Why would they? They don't like wizards, and wizards don't like them.
    • The ex-owner of the bank. After he resigns/is fired, it will make you a little less trusting of goblins, but there's still no goblin there with a history of theft. If the only theft a bank had required the owner to steal it, it's a pretty safe bank. And it's stolen for a very, very good reason. Besides, in the last book, Harry and company rob the place with vastly less difficulty (they didn't have to spend decades working there), for a reason that isn't nearly as good. It never says that people don't stop using Gringott's, but I certainly didn't get the impression they did.
    • How many people do you think there are that use Gringotts to store things that they would consider to be of immense value? More than just the standard sack of gold, that is. If someone was willing to trust the Philosopher's Stone to Gringotts, it's safe to assume that other wizards put things in there of roughly equivalent value. Hell, Voldemort put part of his soul in there. Taking the Stone would send the message "If it's valuable enough, we're just gonna take it." It wouldn't matter if it was just one goblin, because goblins already don't get along with wizards. Racism doesn't have to make sense. Maybe people would still keep using the bank, but I'm betting no. All you'd need is a competing wizard bank with the motto, "We don't steal your shit!"
    • Would you use a bank that let the world die rather than release something they had? Heck, would you use a bank that was knowlingly supporting terrorists? They probably lost more customers to the knowledge that they stored Voldemort's soul than to the fact someone broke in and stole it.
    • Yes and yes. And I would be far from alone. Millions of non-criminals use numbered Swiss bank accounts, for example.
    • They are not letting anyone die. If you start having a heart attack and someone ignores you and walks out of the room, they are letting you die. But if they refuse to rob an organ bank so you can have a replacement heart, they're not responsible for your death.
    • No, but you still die. Say what you will about responsibility, I think being alive counts for something, and everyone's lives counts for six billion times as much. If you think one person's responsibility is more important than six billion lives, consider that they each had several responsibilities. They're not Gringotts' responsibilities, but it's still bad for them to be broken. Unless your idea of ethics is every man for himself, who the responsibility belongs to doesn't matter.
    • This whole discussion seems predicated on the idea that death is universally BAD and must be avoided at all costs. The whole point of the book series was that death is natural and not that terrible, that it's nothing to be feared. Not everyone wants to be alive, not everyone fears death, indeed in some places death is a celebration. Seems a bit "missing the point" to argue that Flamel was responsible for genocide just because he didn't share a recipe.
    • Flamel had no qualms against using it himself, so clearly he felt that it's perfectly okay to put off death for a few centuries. What's more, all the people who were capable of releasing the stone were also capable of destroying it, and stopping Flamel from using it. Also, it's not so much the idea that death is bad as much as being forced into it against your will. It was portrayed as bad for Voldemort to force people to die against their will. It would have undoubtedly been no different had he killed them by depriving them of food. Flamel killed them by depriving them of the Elixir of life. Finally, Hogwarts has on many occasions cured people from things that would have otherwise killed them. If living is important enough for them to dedicate a room to saving a few students, then it's important enough to release a recipe to save everyone.
    • No he did not "kill" anyone. It's not like he's deliberately withholding life-saving treatment from a cancer patient. Such treatment is intended to help the patient live a natural lifespan, not forever. Humans are not meant to live forever. Death is in our design. Flamel isn't forcing people to die early, he simply lets nature take its course. If death is bad, then nature is the ultimate evil, because everything dies. Not to mention that, uh, the planet can't support the SEVEN BILLION HUMANS living on it now; can you imagine the ecological catastrophe if NO ONE EVER DIED?
    • "It's not like he's deliberately withholding life-saving treatment from a cancer patient." It cures cancer, does it not? Of course, I suspect all the wizards are doing that. It's still wrong, but it's not unique to this book. "Not to mention that, uh, the planet can't support the SEVEN BILLION HUMANS living on it now" It can when you have magic. Also, even without magic, the Sun emits enough power to support about 10^24 people. In other words, if you took our current population and squared it, it would still use up less than a tenth of a percent of our available resources. You'd need a Dyson sphere, but in the time it takes to increase our population by fourteen orders of magnitude, you can easily build one.
    • Isn't it possible that he DIDN'T simply decide to keep it a secret? We're not talking about a medication or some topical cream, we're talking about a powerful mythical artifact. Maybe the process for creating it is very complicated, or dangerous, or relies on very specific circumstances. Maybe only one stone can exist at a time. Maybe only a very powerful and skilled wizard can use it. Maybe the elixir doesn't last long enough on its own for the purposes of regular mass production. There are any number of possible reasons why it wasn't widely used other than Nick was just being a jerk about it.
    • And while we're at it, what would storing Voldemort's soul have to do with anything? They're a BANK. Their job is to safely hold your stuff. Their job is not policing the wizarding world, nor is it deciding whether or not your stuff should be distributed without your approval.
    • It's their job because Voldemort hired them. That doesn't make it okay to help a known terrorist.
    • Voldemort didn't hire Gringotts, to canonical knowledge. He gave his Horcrux to Bellatrix Lestrange, who, in turn, put it in her vault. Saying that they're responsible for that, you may as well say that no Dark pureblood family is allowed to have a vault. But it doesn't matter even if he did hire them, because it's not the bank's job to control that. Would you stop using a bank because some serial killer was using a safety deposit box at said bank to hold trophies from his victims?
    • Come to think of it, few people even knew the stone existed, let alone that it was at Gringotts. The goblins just say that they stole it from Flamel, using methods wizards don't know how to protect against. If Flamel says that they did so by owning the place it was being stored in, they just say that he's clearly slandering them as some petty form of racist revenge. Incidentally, considering even a 600 year-old wizard is apparently incapable of protecting his most prized possession from Goblins, you may want to use a Goblin bank.
    • For that matter, wizards can duplicate food...
    • This has been moved to Harry Potter Universe.
    • Who is to say the effect can be duplicated? Maybe the stone requires incredibly rare (say, the horn of a unicorn that voluntarily sacrificed its life to save a steamboat, just for the sake of something silly) materials and is only able to produce enough elixer for two people? Or maybe a little less rare, but still rare enough that you can't produce large quantities of them. We don't know how the stone works, perhaps it draws from a universal well that only produces elixer for 10 years every 5 years?
    • In this case, Nicholas Flamel didn't seem to mind dying at the end, so why didn't he give the stone to someone who did?
    • A simple variant on the above: The ingredients were rare enough that he could only make one stone. Maybe there can only be one stone at a time, or something, I don't know. Anyway, he couldn't share it, and he didn't tell anybody else that he had it for the same reason you don't tell people that you have the Elder Wand: Thieves.
    • Did none of you people read the book? Death is natural. Immortality is unnatural. Attempting to attain such is a bad freaking idea. Hell, the so-called Master of Death who wields all the Deathly Hallows must be one who truly accepts death's existence. So therefore, logically, in taking the Elixer, do you honestly think that anything good came out of it other than Flamel's lifespan being extended indefinitely? No. That is extremely doubtful. If nothing else, it made him appreciate the concept of death, of being able to go to sleep after a long day and just keep sleeping for the rest of eternity, and therefore not share the stupid curse with anyone else. I mean hell, for all we know he'd been planning to destroy the Stone for a while now, hence why it was in his vault and not in his cupboard.
    • How do you people keep missing this? Nicholas Flamel used the stone. He was clearly okay with immortality, so long as it belonged to him. Fair enough; maybe he's just selfish, except that several other people were in a position to either steal or destroy the stone, and did neither. The only possible explanation is that they all think that immortality was okay, so long as it belonged to Nicholas Flamel. It doesn't matter whether or not you consider immortality moral. What Nicholas Flamel did was immoral in either case, albeit for different reasons.
    • OMFG... saying that the man is commiting genocide is ridiculous. Yes, Nicholas Flamel used the stone, but as mentioned by the troper above ^ there were several people in position to get at the stone. Obviously, Voldemort's the only one who wanted it that bad. Also, the Stone was NOT a secret. Hermione found out all about it in a book she checked out of the library FOR FUN. We don't know all the things that Nicholas Flamel chose to do with that stone. He may have passed the Elixir around to those he deemed worthy. Hell, how old is Dumbledore, his good friend?? Whether he did or not, those tropers who mentioned all the ramifications that come with everyone living longer have an extremely valid point, especially if you consider the fact that they're trying to keep Muggles unaware of their existence. What happens when the Muggles finally get clued in to wizards and then on to the secret for immortality? That's when the genocide would probably start. As for Nick himself, yes, he may seem selfish for using the Stone, but to me, he just seems like the mad scientist type. Maybe he's been spending all those years trying to come up with cures for the diseases everyone keeps bringing up. We don't know what the hell he's been doing with that stone and we don't know what else he's made. This also brings up another factor. They're all wizards. They have all kinds of magic and potions for cures. They probably don't contract all of the same diseases Muggles do and I'm not sure, fandom might be mindscrewing me, but don't wizards already have a slightly extended life span? And another point. We don't know how the stone would have cured Voldemort, but as far as I see it... if you're already sick, the stone is not going to suddenly cure your cancer. You're just gonna live longer sitting there in agony with the disease ravaging your body while you keep on existing.
    • Nobody in a position to take the stone did. There are plenty of people who will do quite a lot to not die. Vodemort, obviously. It's implied that the people he killed agreed that they too would like to not die, at least for a little while (he'd hardly be a villain otherwise). Quite a few Muggles are willing to pay no small amount for cryonics, which isn't even guaranteed to work. In any case, my point was more that people should have reacted, but didn't. One of the people should have stolen it, or at least called someone out on it. While there are ramifications to people not dying, it's unlikely that they're that bad, and even if they are, they could just stop letting people use the stone after a certain amount of time, or stop using food if the ideal time is earlier than it currently is (the probability of it happening to be the ideal time is pretty low, especially considering how much a single person's lifetime varies). At the very least, they could give them the elixir until they're old enough to die of old age, and then let them die. At least this way it's consistent, and they don't have the problems associated with old age. Any cures Nick came up with are redundant, since he already found the cure. The stone explicitly could cure the curse the unicorns give (unless I misunderstood that part) so it could presumably cure cancer. In any case, it could cure the side effects of cancer treatment (cut out all the cancer, and cure the fact that they're now missing half their body mass). Wizards may have a longer lifespan than muggles, but that was never the point. I'd be saying the same thing if the average lifespan was a million years. It's still finite, and everyone would still die.
    • It's pretty clear that Flamel simply CAN'T make another stone, otherwise, after the first stone is destroyed at the end of the book, he could just have made another, and there would have been no need for that long, solemn talk with Dumbledore and the final decision to choose to allow himself to die for the greater good (there is no indication the Flamel wanted to die, if he did, he could have just stopped taking the Elixir at any time). And if Flamel could make another stone, Voldemort/Quirrell could have just tracked him down and imperiused him into making one, rather than go to all that trouble of tracking down the original stone. Most likely the creation of the stone in the first place involved some steps that were lucky accidents that Flamel can't reproduce.
    • It could just take too long. Of course, if that was the case, Flamel would probably keep enough elixer stored that he'd have time to make a new stone. On the other hand, even if he can't make the same stone again, it's unlikely that that recipe is unique. He might not have found another way, but he could have gotten a lot of people to help.
    • I don't think Flamel wanted to make another. That would kind of negate the whole point of destroying the first one, no? Evidently he wanted the secret of the Philosopher's Stone to die with him so it couldn't be misused.
    • Releasing the recipe to the Philosopher's Stone to the general public would be a horrible idea. If the entire world were granted the secret of immortality, it would lead to the world getting gradually overpopulated far beyond what it could support. Not to mention the ability to make gold, which would lead to a complete economical collapse. The only motive Flamel could ever have for giving the secret of the Philosopher's Stone away would be if he genuinely wanted to bring the world to a complete social and environmental ruination.
    • The world population is already growing exponentially. We don't even consider it worth while to limit children to stop this. Why would it be worth while to force everyone to die just to slow it down? I can imagine that the wizarding world still uses the gold standard, but preventing the economic upheaval isn't worth dying for. Even if it was, they could slowly replace the currency and then release the recipe for the stone after it's done.
    • Also, all of you forget - Dumbledore is 110 in 1991. Flamel is 665 (I think?). The two of them worked together - so, perhaps, Flamel was keeping himself alive because he knew that, perhaps, Perenelle wanted to not die before him? He could have made the stone to keep himself around long enough so that both could die together... then realised that, actually, Perenelle wouldn't mind (point b; she may have wanted to die with him at the same time!) if they lived for a few more years, and that his alchemy skills were useful.
    • Or, to expand on my own point, maybe he or his wife was terminally ill; immortality would be a way of removing the suffering for both of them; the sick one wouldn't have to suffer being ill and upsetting their loved ones if they don't recover... and the healthy one wouldn't have to suffer seeing their loved ones being ill and not being able to do anything about it.
    • Letting people live for "let's say 100 years" and then kill them - just to avoid the hardships of getting older, sounds like a great idea. (Example quote by a 11 year old: 'where is papa?') I can't see things going wrong with that at all. And I'm sure since everyone is completely corruption free, people in higher positions wouldn't just abuse their position to live longer at all, right? Immortality would just turn into another addiction. Why should people, who can't accept their natural lifespan to begin with, voluntarily allow themselves to be killed off after a (contractually?) defined [100|200|...] year life span? I already get nervous when I have a dentist appointment a few weeks in the future - I can't imagine how it must be to have an appointment for your own death in your calendar. The alternative is overpopulation, territorial wars, etc. Thanks for sparing others that trouble, Nic!

    Harry Potter, the Boy Who Killed? 
  • So... Quirrell dies at the end. ...Yes, it's likely justified, being corrupted by Lord Voldemort and so forth, but this is the just bugs me section, so I'm going to come out and say that it kind of bugs me that the Boy Who Lived gets away with manslaughter. (Also, quick theory — they mention a meeting he had with a Romanian vampire, which made him the nervous way he was. Could this have been a misconception? Was that the moment he met Voldemort and either thought it was a vampire (Nosferatu-ish) or was told by him to tell the world the story of the vampire? I don't know!)
    • I like to believe the theory that Quirrell was dead the moment he either let Voldemort possess him or drank the Unicorn Blood. The second Voldemort left Quirrell's body, he'd slowly deteriorate from either being possessed or the Unicorn Blood's curse. The fact that Harry helped dissolve his body only sped up the process rather than killing him. Harry's ability to harm Quirrell with the Power of Love seems to reinforce the idea that he couldn't be saved. At the worst, it was unintentional manslaughter, and he was defending himself, so self defense does come into play. On your other theory, I always thought the vampire was cover story for meeting Voldemort and never gave it much thought.
    • Uh, Harry didn't kill Quirrell. The book specifically says that Voldemort left Quirrell to die after Harry fainted. If we're going by the movie, its Quirrell's own damn fault for continuously touching Harry.
    • Dumbledore specifically says that Voldemort left Quirrell to die. I say he finished the wreck.
    • True - and I'm not saying it's Harry's fault, but it's unnatural and, frankly, creepy that Harry is not in the least affected by the fact that he was indirectly involved in the death of a person. I'm not saying he should be tearing his hair and beating his breast in remorse, but honestly, he doesn't even think about it! But then, Dumbledore kept reassuring him, and this could be an early sign of the blind acceptance Harry gives to everything that Dumbledore says (except for when Sirius dies, when he goes into CAPSLOCKS mode...)

    What About a Unicorn Blood Drive? 
  • If someone were to get ahold of unicorn blood without killing it (say, somehow manage to stick it with a syringe) and drink it, would they still be cursed? What if they used as painless as possible a method of acquiring the blood, and did their best to minimize harm to the unicorn? What if they only took a few drops?
    • 'Malign intent produces malign results' is a consistent theme of magic in the majority of fiction using magic at all, and 'a freely sacrificed life is a wonderful gift, but wanton taking of life fractures your soul' is canon in the Potterverse. Going with this consistent theme, what would likely be the determining factor is if the unicorn wanted you to have the blood. If you're taking it by force or deception, however subtly, you're still trying to steal it and should be punished as a thief. If the unicorn agrees to gift you some of its blood, then you're probably all right even if you jammed the syringe right in. The symbology of taking life vs. being gifted with life is the primary thing, not the exact mechanics of how you bleed the unicorn.
    • Alternately, unicorn blood might only be useful as a life-preserving elixir if forcibly taken from the unicorn. One of the centaurs specifically mentions that "slaying" a creature as pure as the unicorn was what caused the curse, which seemed to be directly linked to the restorative properties.

    Unicorn Curse 

  • Do they ever explain this Unicorn blood curse? What is it actually meant to do to you? I know they say cursed for life but that means many different things.
    • Outside of 'it curses you to half a life for as long as you live', they don't go into any detail, no.

    How dumb is Ron, really? 
  • How on earth did Ron, a pureblood wizard who grew up with five older brothers, get fooled into thinking that Sunshine, Daisies, butter mellow... was an actual spell?
    • Rule of Funny? But, that bugs me too.
    • Rather easily. The twins are GENIUSES at making pranks and jokes, it's not unlikely they did a setup with non-verbal spells, or premade ones and turned stuff into other colors while saying silly spells. Hell, they could have gotten a Muggle's mood ring and did the trick with that
    • He's eleven. Also, just because the spells adults use are Canis Latinicus doesn't mean they all are. Perhaps they're just shorter, and thus easier to use if you don't have the memory of an eleven-year-old. Perhaps wizards just like to sound posh by using it. I've seen a fanfic to that effect.
    • Saying that "he's eleven" is an excuse is an offense to eleven-year-olds around the world. Ron grew up with this stuff, like modern-day kids grew up with computers. It would be like convincing a child today that they could control a computer by pressing their forehead to a USB port and thinking really, really hard. I might be able to fool a 3-year-old, but an 11-year-old kid should know better than that. As for the Latinesque spells — it's what everyone uses, and proper pronunciation is important, and it is exactly how it is taught to all wizards in canon.
    • He's eleven, along with the rest of that. It's not like all the spells are even Latin. Alohamora is Hawaiian. Why can't there be one or two in English? Also, there could just be so many that you could make one that's English, sort of like the Justin Bailey and Narpa's Sword (Narpas' Sword? Narpas's Word? NAR Password?) passwords for Metroid. His brothers could have made any of these explanations, along with actually showing him as previously mentioned.
    • A case of Fridge Brilliance becuase Scabbers is not a real rat.
    • I looked it up. Alohamora isn't Hawaiian, but it's not Latin either. It's some west African thing.
    • Again, there is more than a small difference between a Latin-esque (or even Hawaiian) 1-2 word incantation and a ten-word-long rhyming poem. Again, I might be able to fool an 11-year-old into thinking I can play an Xbox game on the PC (Hey, they're both made by Microsoft!), but tell them to stick a Super Nintendo cartridge into Wii and they'll know you're BS-ing them. Especially when you know for a fact that the people who told you are pranksters. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for years while growing up and still manage to pull an obvious one on me, shame doesn't even cover it, Ron.
    • I've seen a compressed computer program that was also a prime number. You probably could make a ten-word-long rhyming poem that's also an incantation.
    • Maybe it was a real spell and Ron just did it wrong.
    • So Reality Is Unrealistic, except it's not reality. Canon is unrealistic?
    • Could be that as it would have been the first spell Ron ever cast, he really wanted it to be real, and rationalized away the obvious inconsistencies with what he knows about magic. Even adults will willingly ignore glaring flaws in something if they want it badly enough.
    • Keep in mind that many spells spoken by adults are nonverbal and the twins can't actually do magic during the school break, so Ron could have thought that as a beginner in magic, you have to say long phrases first, before getting down to two word phrases, then no words at all.
    • I thought that the spell not working was a hint that Scabbers was an Animagus.
    • It's very likely that it isn't a spell, but that such silly-sounding spells exist. They're just very, very inefficient for obvious reasons. When you consider that things like cheese cauldrons have been invented, and that "Peskipicksi Pesternomi" from the second book sounds like a real spell, but does nothing, it's possible that while "sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow" is itself not a real spell, other spells with silly incantations do actually exist. Otherwise, Ron wouldn't actually be able to fall for the prank. Wizards are not known to be the most efficient people on Earth, so it wouldn't be a stretch that spells were initially incantations of just full rhyming sentences. It would fit into the lore well enough, and when you consider that it's not unheard of for incantations to be long like that. Hell, we even see one such incantation crop up in the films- the song sung by the "toad choir" is, I believe, a spell from Macbeth. Oh and also, colour change spells are not practised until sixth year, so Ron was out of his depth even if it was a real spell.

  • OK, Voldemort is a name every wizard and witch is afraid to pronounce or even hear because of all the terror and murders he inflicted, etc. I get that. What I don't get, is why do all the Muggle-born wizards and witches have the same attitude? They are 11 years old, find out about the magical world and hear something about terrible, terrible magical Hitler... And that's enough for them to be so terrified, that they're afraid of his name? Come on... Why doesn't every Muggle-born act like Harry, as in "forget it is a taboo to pronounce "Voldemort"", and why does everyone consider Harry doing this something unbelievable? This would be the most logical thing.
    • Harry did try to remember to call him "You-Know-Who" until Dumbledore told him not to. He, and presumably the Muggle-born students, are just trying to fit in.
    • My point exactly. He tries it, but the name slips from his lips several times nonetheles. And it is considered as something unique, so that it seems he's the only one to pronounce the name by simply forgetting it's a taboo. I understand it wouldn't happen to those who grew up with the fear of that name, but to those who just learned about it? Not really.
    • No, Harry only tried to call him "You-Know-Who" during the first book. At the end, Dumbledore told him that he should be saying "Voldemort", and at this point Harry adopted his "I'm not afraid to say Voldie's name, deal with it" attitiude. But Dumbledore didn't have that conversation with any of the Muggle-born students, so they all eventually fell into the habit.
    • Yes, Harry only tried to call him "You-Know-Who" during the first book, and this is the Headscratchers about the first book. I understand the reason why the people act surprised when 13 or 14 year old Harry does that, because at that point it should be a habit to call him "You-Know-Who" already. But during the first year, it's only natural for the "Newcomers" to forget this, because it can't become a habit in 3 weeks. So, why is everybody surprised when Harry does it, as if he were the only one. Does every Muggle-born adopt this habit at once or what?
    • I just finished rereading the first book and people don't really act surprised with Harry slips and says Voldemort's name. They flinch. Which starts to make Harry feel a sense of forboding whenever he even so much as thinks the name, and thus begins him trying to say You-Know-Who. It's not that they're surprised that muggleborn/muggle-raised kids are saying Voldemort, more that they fear the name and flinch whenever it is said. By the end of their first year, any muggleborn/muggle-raised student would probably have adopted the same reaction, since it took a little over half-way through his first year for Harry to start reacting to the name in a negative way.
    • This might also be a case of Serious Business: Harry basically had to twist Hagrid's arm to get him to say the name, and every adult (barring D) avoids saying it at all cost. That alone might be enough to frighten an 11 year old into thinking something bad might happen if they say it.
    • Maybe they call him You-Know-Who simply because they never learned his real name. No adult except for Dumbledore is willing to say it. I'm pretty sure his name doesn't appear in publications, either. Heck, some Muggle-borns probably think that the wizard actually named himself "You Know Who."
    • Ron, at least, is en exception to that since he recognized the name when Harry used it on the train.
    • Ron isn't muggleborn.
    • I thought they were surprised because the most famous wizard of their time knows nothing about the wizarding world and the man who tried to kill him. One would assume that the child of two wizards would know about Voldemort, especially when the child is Harry Potter, so he would not be allowed the same "he-just-doesn't-know" courtesy the Muggle-borns get. Kind of like how you forgive an exchange student a basic lapse in grammar, especially if they are new to the language, but would not be so forgiving to someone you assume would be fluent in the language.
    • The strangest thing about this was that the children had a visceral reaction to Voldy's name when Harry uses it. But that reaction is a learned behaviour, one they couldn't have learned since they weren't alive or cogniznat enough to understand it when Voldy was alive and their parents would never habe said the name or likely been around anyone who said the name.
    • Given Bellatrix's reaction to Harry calling him Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix, it's extremely likely that people were killed just for saying his name. Hearing stories about people being killed for saying someone's name would probably make you not want to use the name.

    Hey, that's our boat! 
  • This just occurred to me. Back on the island where Hagrid first met Harry (the first chapter notwithstanding) Hagrid takes Harry away with the boat that the Dursleys used to get there, since he didn't bring one. Okay, fair enough. But, looking back, I realized that this means that there is now no boat there for the Dursleys to take back to the mainland. How did they get back?
    • If Hagrid didn't bring his own boat, then how the hell was he supposed to arrive? He obviously couldn't Apparate, and if he had used the motorcycle, he'd use it to leave as well.
    • According to Hagrid himself, he flew. Though the bike isn't mentioned, it is implied. Though the Dursleys aren't likely to take the bike.
    • Here's your answer.
    • Less drastically, he simply charmed the boat to return to the island on its own.
    • "Expelled-in-3rd-year-pieces-of-his-broken-wand-hidden-in-a-pink-umbrella" Hagrid managed to charm a boat?
    • See below. Who said it was actually broken?
    • Hagrid has been shown to actually be quite proficient in magic (Aside from Transfiguration), considering he lit a fire, and charmed the boat move by magic on the way back to shore. Non-verbally (which isn't taught until 6th year, need I remind you). So yeah, "Expelled-in-3rd-year-pieces-of-his-broken-wand-hidden-in-a-pink-umbrella" Hagrid charmed a boat, entirely non-verbally, twice.
    • And Hagrid may have been joking about the spell to turn Dudley into a pig not working. Turning him into an actual pig and leaving him that way would have attracted the attention of the ministry more than a pig tail. (Hmm... Dumbledore must have smoothed that over.)
    • An alternate explanation (for the book, not the movie): After he'd said goodbye to Hagrid, Harry went back to the seashore and took the boat back out to the Hut-on-the-rock to fetch the Dursleys. And probably received no gratitude for it.

    Voldemort's NOT Broken Wand 
  • So that fateful night the explosion annihilated V's body and demolished the roof, if not the whole house, and yet V's wand remained completely intact? How can this be?
    • Because magic. More seriously, wands tend to break in-series under physical pressure, not magical effects. They are canonically kinda-sorta-sapient, so the wand might have protected itself, and the explosion probably falls under magical effects anyway.
    • And it's different from Hermione blowing up Harry's wand (wow, did that sound wrong...) in DH...how exactly? Besides, the opposite would've make sense, but being impervious to the most terrible magical damage but not to mere snapping? I'm sorry, but that's kinda hard to believe.
    • Simple. It's Voldy's wand, so it's only natural for him to put some kind of protection charms, enhancements, bless-of-god etc to make sure it wouldn't break under all but the most powerful damage.
    • Also, it might be important that the spell that broke Harry's wand was specifically designed to damage physical objects. AK is supposedly the most powerful spell there is, but it doesn't kill by physical force.

    Hagrid's Broken Wand 
  • So in CoS when Ron's wand cracks, he's unable to do even the most basic spells correctly. When Harry's is broken in Deathly Hallows, it doesn't work at all. So how is Hagrid able to successfully perform magic (partial transfiguration on Dudley, light a fire, propel a boat) with the pink umbrella that contains the pieces of his wand that was snapped when he was expelled?
    • He says it only contains pieces. DD could've easily repaired it, since he more or less knows that Hagrid is innocent.
    • I've always believed that Hagrid's umbrella contains an intact wand that this could be serious foreshadowing that Dumbledore owns the only wand that can completely repair other wands (The Elder Wand).
    • Actually Ollivander says in Deathly Hallows that a wizard can channel his magic trough virtually anything so Hagrid's broken wand became the umbrella's core.
    • We only have Hagrid's word that the wand was broken. He's pretty evasive when Ollivander asks if it was broken like it was supposed to be. Hagrid could have hidden his wand, and handed his deceased father's wand over to the Ministry to get snapped in two. Or done something else to ensure his wand wasn't broken, and then disguised it as/in an umbrella handle.
    • Alternately, Ron's broken wand was a hand-me-down from Charlie, while Hagrid's wand was an Ollivander wand specifically paired to him. It could be that even broken, it had a much better rapport with Hagrid than Ron's first wand had even when in one piece.

     5 Beds? 
  • So when Harry first goes into the boys dorm there's only 5 beds. Does each year get their own dorm? I got kind of confused on that
    • Yes. When Harry goes to his dorm for the first time in the second book, it's noted that it is now labeled "second years".

    Ollivander Could Have Nuked Us All 
  • So Ollivander (when selling Harry his wand) thought that giving a boy who destroyed Voldemort Voldemort's style of wand was a good idea. I would have thought putting these two opposing forces together would have been extraordinarily dangerous, or at the very least require some sort of precaution before asking Harry to "give it a flick".
    • The wand was apparently created specially for Harry on DD's request, so that, should the two someday have to duel, Harry would be able to capitalize on the Priori Incantatem effect. So obviously DD and Olie would've sit it through and discuss all the possible consequences.
    • Cite your sources, please. Where does it say that Dumbledore had the holly and phoenix feather wand specifically made for Harry? If that was the case, Ollivander wouldn't have needed to give Harry literally a pile of wands to try out before the holly/phoenix wand, nor would there have been any guarantee that that particular wand would have chosen Harry. Pretty sure it's just coincidence, or maybe Fawkes' feathers picking up on Voldemort and Harry's connection somehow.
    • Olli did it for appearence sake, obviously. Harry would likely discuss his wand purchase with others (or at least learn about the process), and if every wizard had to go through numerous wands to "be chosen" but him, it would've looked suspicious. Next, for all we know, all the other wands could've been fake (notice how none of them produces any effect and Oliwander snatches them from Harry before he can do as much as a flick) and who says you cannot attune the wand to a wizard beforehand? Hell, DD could've had the wand made even before leaving Harry with Dursleys (or even before he was born, after he'd heard the prophecy), so they had a chance to test it on him. Of course, if somebody prefers to believe in coincedences too contrived even for the Star Wars prequels, there's little that could be done with it.
    • Alternatively, you could argue that the Horcruxed soul of Voldy in Harry is part of what made him resonate with the same type of wand, much like how it made the hat see the Slytherin potential in him.
    • There is no evidence of it being made for him on Dumbledore's request. In fact, from what Ollivander has said about wandlore, and there is no reason to believe he was lying, that would be impossible, because the wand chooses the wizard. The above is a specious bit of speculation stated as fact. The truth is that Harry got the twin wand because of destiny.
    • I believe Dumbledore tells Harry that he knew about the wands connection because Ollivander wrote him as soon as Harry left the shop. That would seem to confirm that it wasn't
    • It's amusing that for a series choke full of withholded truths and manipulations on the part of the Big Good people would so adamantly refuse to accept that *Gasp* the Big Good might have orchestrated a little show to ensure that his protege is better prepared for the future ordeals, just because it wasn't explicitely stated so. Well, some things don't need to be, if you're willing to search for a logical explanation instead of writing it off to "destiny". I'm not even sure why are you so vehemntly against my idea - unlike pretty much everything else DD does, this was actually smart.
    • I think the issue here is that your theory hinges on a lot. How could Dumbeldore have used the same tail feather of the same phoenix that provided its tail feather for Voldy's wand? Phoenixes only give one tail feather and we know, despite popular theory, that Fawkes was not that Phoenix. So Dumbledore hunted down that particular Phoenix and plucked a feather aganst it's will? Plus Dumbeledore himself was surprised at the wands connecting in GoF. So I don't think it was something he was thinking about or did on purpose. The most plausible reason really is that it was all just coincidence, or fate.
    • Dumbledore specifically stated that Fawkes was that phoenix. In-book.
    • It also never says anywhere that a phoenix only gives one feather. The only thing the books said was that that particular phoenix (Fawkes) only ever gave two - one to Harry's wand, one to Voldemort's.
    • Ollivander likes the idea of Harry unleashing powerful forces with his wand, he says so. You're mistaking him for an entirely responsible and stable person, when he explicitly isn't.
    • The thing about wands in the series is that, just like Ollivander had told Harry, it is the wand that chooses the wizard. What it means is that while yes, you could just get any wand and it would work as a focus, be it a good or a bad one but still a working one, the best focus is the one that matches the wizard the most. Which means that all of the parameters of the wand matter: the wood from which the wand is made changes the overall character and possibly other traits of the wizard that it works with (to the point where you could guess what sort of person the wizard or witch is simply by knowing what wood their wand is made of), the optimal length of the wand depends on the depth of character of the one wielding it, the cores correspond to the temperament of the person (those temperamental tend to have dragon heartstring wands, those melancholic tend to have unicorn hair wands, and phoenix feather ones ... well, those require a certain "something" and it is not entirely known what it is), and the flexibility of the wand corresponds to the flexibility of the witch or wizard (those with flexible wands tend to be adaptable people whereas those whose wands are rigid tend to be stubborn). And here's a fun bit of information: holly, when used as a wand wood, is for people who are protective but rash and on a dangerous and possibly spiritual quest; in other words, they are for "Heroes" who have a date with "Destiny". The combination of holly with phoenix feather is a combination that is so paradoxical it is not actually supposed to work, mostly because both holly and phoenix feathers are the sorts of wand materials that have requirements for the wizard they choose. That this wand is the one responding to Harry the best means that his "Destiny" is a very important part of him and that he has the "something" that makes him suited for a wand with a phoenix feather core and unlikely to be suited just as well to a wand with any other core, so a guy as obsessed with wand craft as Ollivander would just note what he can because of the strangeness of the wand itself but he would sell that wand to Harry because that's the best wand for the kid regardless of the possible implications and Ollivander is obsessed with making wands that work as well as possible. Oh, and to people who think that Dumbledore specifically asked Ollivander to make a holly and phoenix feather wand: do note that though he may or may not have done that (it is a possibility that Ollivander would make a wand like this just because he is so into making wands, but at the same time Dumbledore might have asked because the elder and thestral tail hair wand is just as unusual a combination as holly and phoenix feather would be), there would be no way to force such a wand to accept a wizard of Dumbledore's choice, so the wand chose Harry naturally.

    Keys: Birds or Bugs? 

  • When Harry first sees the magic flying keys, he thinks they're birds, but wouldn't a flying key look more like a weird butterfly or a dragonfly than a bird?
    • He saw feathered wings, he thought birds. Seems fairly logical.

    How did the order find Baby Harry? 
  • So Harry parents make Pettigrew their secret keeper, Pettigrew tells Voldemort, voldemort kills the Potters and then dies attacking Harry. So, how did anyone else find the house? The secret keeper was still alive, one of the subjects of the secret was still alive, and Wormtail did not get Harry for Hagrid. It couldn't have been a dual-SK thing with Sirius either, because Hagrid beats him there.
    • A few guesses:
    • The same magic that kept Harry from being killed kept him from starving by stopping the spell.
    • Voldemort stopped the spell when he came in.
    • The order knew where the house was, and even though they couldn't find it, they could still walk up to were it should be and cast "Accio baby".
    • The fist two guesses are very unlikely, and while the third makes sense, that sort of thing being possible would render the spell nearly worthless.
    • Just about the only thing that works is that the fidelius charm only applied to James and Lily and once they were dead anyone could go in and get Harry. Which seems a bit convenient but maybe they were planning for that eventuality, that if the plan went wrong and the parents were killed they'd need to find the baby. After all, it seems like only Dumbledore and Snape knew Voldemort was after Harry, most people seemed to assume it was the parents he was after.
    • Peter himself probably allowed the Fidelius to lapse once he'd escaped. So long as it remained in effect, Sirius could have proven his innocence by saying "The Potters' home is right there" while standing in front of its apparently-vacant lot, and not causing their home to suddenly appear.
    • Not that he would have had a chance to do so, seeing as he was imprisoned without a trial. But the point is still a valid one, since it's not like Peter knew that would happen.
    • If the secret was "the Potter family lives in ———, Godric's Hollow", then it makes sense that either the house being in ruins made the premise of the secret invalid because no one could live there, or Harry's parents being dead made it invalid because there was no longer an intact Potter family.
    • Bathilda knew where they were and visited often. Just because there was a secret keeper doesn't mean other people didn't also know and could visit.
    • Also, remember that in Order of the Phoenix Harry can see and find 12 Grimmauld Place because he reads a piece of paper with that address written on it by the Secret Keeper. Presumably, as the Secret Keeper Peter could have done the same thing for members of the Order as well as Voldemort. Maybe Dumbledore asked Peter to make sure Hagrid and Sirius knew where the Potters were; maybe James or Lily had been really friendly with Hagrid and asked Peter to make sure Hagrid knew where they were; maybe Dumbledore had a spare piece of paper lying around where Peter had already written the Potters' address, and he gave it to Hagrid after the Potters died. The whole "Peter let the charm lapse" doesn't seem like it'd actually work; it makes more sense for Hagrid to have already known where they were somehow.
    • I thought only James, Lily, Sirius, and Peter knew about making Peter the secret-keeper instead of Sirius. Wasn't it mentioned somewhere that they didn't even tell Dumbledore?
    • That's correct.
    • The most likely explanation is that the spell breaks once the secret becomes obsolete in some way. James and Lily dying reveals the cottage they once lived in because it's not their house anymore and it doesn't matter anymore if someone finds it, or hypothetically, Grimmuald Place getting a re-name would reveal the location of the building since that address the secret is kept under would be inaccurate (and may remove its ability to be Unplottable under that address). Book 7 even notes that the spell on the cottage wore off, because of how many people have signed the plaque to James and Lily, and the fact that Harry and Hermione can see the broken house. The only enchantment on it now is the same one that's on the Leaky Cauldron.
    • ^ That's pretty much confirmed as of the seventh book - when Harry and Hermione visit Godric's Hollow, Harry worries he won't be able to see the house due to the charm, but when they wind up being able to, he speculates that the charm lapsed once James and Lily were killed. Also, Hagrid mentions at the beginning of the first book that he was able to get out before Muggles starting swarming the house, which further points to the charm having been dropped.

     the DADA jinx 
  • we know from book 6 that Voldmort asked for a teaching position at some point right? Well we also know that up until Harry came to Hogwarts Quirell had been teaching for awhile at school (from books) he took a year off to get some RLF experience. But to me it seems Harry actives the jinx..hence a new teacher every year. Since expect for the DADA teacher that was teaching DADA at the time Voldmort asked.
    • Word of God says Quirell previously taught Muggle Studies.
    • Yes but no one ever bothers in the books to ask Bill, Arthur and Molly, (Tonks and maybe Lupin/Sirus when they're alive). About if they had a different DA teachers (since we are unclear exactly when the Voldmort asked for the position). We know that Bill was born in 1970. Since unless Word of God tells us if the others had different DADA teachers.. its seems to be the "curse" didn't get actived until Harry started the school..and I think
    • Dumbledore specifically says in Half-Blood Prince that ever since Voldemort applied for the DADA job, Hogwarts hasn't been able to hold on to a DADA teacher for more than a year. It's not clear exactly when this happened, but Voldemort applied for the job before officially revealing himself as the Dark Lord, so it was also presumably before Harry was born, let alone before he started going to Hogwarts. Quirrell might have been the first teacher to actually die, but he wasn't the first to fall prey to the Jinx.
    • The problem with trying to figure this thing out is that there's absolutely no canon on the wording of the curse or the logic on which it runs, which means we can't speculate with any remote degree of solidity about possible edge cases and escape clauses. Still, it is an oversight in the writing that we're never told about anything that Dumbledore actually tried re: breaking, amelioriating, or sidestepping the curse, however unssuccessful. Its been there for at least two decadesnote  before Harry showed up, after all. So much as one sentence of dialogue to the effect of 'Well, we tried rotating people in and out of the position, we tried hiring Gringotts' best curse-breakers, we tried changing the name of the course, and none of that worked.' would have firmed things up a thousand-fold while being a trivial effort for Rowling to accomplish. As is, we have a conspicuous lack of worldbuilding follow-through here... and that's the sort of thing that leads right to Headscratchers like this.
    • On a side note, if the jinx has, indeed, been in effect since 1970 and Hogwarts has gone through over twenty DADA professors in over twenty years, it clears up a different headscratcher: why the heck does Dumbledore hire so many incompetent professors or people with little teaching experience for the position? If DADA professors were quitting or being dismissed every year as dictated by the jinx- it might have been via injury, death, annoyance with colleagues, crummy insurance, whatever- people might start to catch on. Who wants to take a jinxed job? I suspect that by the time Harry starts Hogwarts, Dumbledore is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel; anyone eligible for the position wants nothing to do with it/is a former death eater, and so the pool is limited to incompetent people (Quirrell, Lockheart), or close friends who Dumbledore probably isn't too keen on losing to a jinxed teaching position (Lupin, Moody, Snape). Come to think of it, Dumbledore may have been really excited about Quirrell applying for the job; he has experience with teaching, he must be (or at least was) bright, because he used to be the Muggle Studies Professor. And he didn't even have to beg! It's too good to be true! (It was).

     The Hogwarts Express 
  • This had bugged me for a while, and there's two parts to this. So the train leaves from London for Hogwarts every September 1, and the first term starts the next day. Well, it's not like September 1 is a floating holiday or anything, you know? Eventually, the first is going to end up on a Friday or Saturday. In fact, in 1995 (Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts) it first does fall on a Friday, yet they still have classes the next day (Saturday). But the characters have seemingly normal school weeks through the rest of the series. The other part of this that Hogwarts serves the entirety of the UK and Ireland. Hogwarts is located in Scotland. So you're telling me that instead of having a parent drop their child off at school (which no one seems to do), they all take their children to London, which is at the very south of England, so they can ride a train for over six hours when they live closer to the school than they do to King's Cross? The train never makes any additional stops. It just seems like it would be out of the way for students who live in Northern England to go all the way to London to ride a train all the way to Scotland.
    • First part: Assuming that it is explicitly stated that they have classes the very next day (which it very well might, I haven't read The Order of the Phoenix in a while), there is always the possibility that they had a simple "stop in, meet the teacher, learn about the class" day on Saturday, then gone straight ahead with the weekend, either just the Sunday or a two-day weekend and a four-day week, then back to normal.
    • Second part: Simple answer. Hogwarts students have two types of parents: wizards and Muggles. The wizards can just Side-Along Apparate the kids to King's Cross or use Floo Powder, problem solved. As for the Muggles, they would not be able to access Hogwarts anyway, since it presumably has the same diversion spells as the World Cup grounds in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. While it is an inconvenience to go to London, it is not some pilgrimage across the world. King's Cross is only about 400 miles from anywhere in Ireland and the UK, which is a couple day's drive at the most, or a quick flight. And since these are Muggles, they can use technology to get there quicker. Not convenient, but not a huge journey that is impossible to complete.
    • So you think that Muggle parents who lived in, say, Inverness wouldn't be tad annoyed at having to spend a full day driving their child to London so he/she could get the train right back to Scotland - rather than simply going straight to Hogwarts? OK, the British Isles are not that big but people still aren't, on the whole, keen to make completely unnecessary trips spanning most of two countries. Another explanation might be that the wizarding staff set up points across the UK for people where, via the Floo network or apparation, children can be sent directly to Platform 9-and-three-quarters. Students outside of the London area are given directions to their nearest floo-point in their acceptance letters, and their parents see them off there rather than come with them to King's Cross.
    • And they cannot be sent from there directly to Hogwarts... why?
    • Who says anyone actually tells the Muggleborn students' parents where Hogwarts is? They don't have to know it's in Scotland to get their kids to school, and the Ministry probably prefers that they don't know. Plus, Muggleborns already have to travel to London at least one other time each year, to shop for their school supplies, so making an occasional day-trip to the city is something their parents must already be willing to do.
    • An even easier explanation is that the train does makes stops, we just never see them, because Harry Potter doesn't enter on any of them, so why should anybody care?
    • Then why call it an "Express" if it makes multiple stops?
    • Or maybe there are several trains that collect students, and the Express just happens to be the last one to arrive at the start of each term. As it departs from London, it'll have the largest contingent of students on board most years, so would be the final train scheduled for the day's arrivals: that way, the biggest bunch of students won't have to wait around at the terminus before the teachers start leading them in to the school, like the smaller groups brought in from Manchester or Liverpool or wherever would.
    • To answer both parts of your statement, firstly: it never says that classes begin the very next day on those few occasions when it coincides with a Friday or Saturday. Literal next day, anyway. Secondly: The Hogwarts Express is the standard transportation, not the only transportation. Until the Hogwarts Express was acquired, along with a fleet of trains by the Ministry of Magic, parents often brought their children to Hogsmeade via Side-Along Apparition, Broomstick, Flying Carpet, Flying Car, Floo Powder and even sent them via various other methods, including horse drawn carriage. The practice became somewhat frowned upon with the introduction of wizarding trains, but was not made against the rules. Specifically, Floo Powder and SAA are both still perfectly acceptable methods of getting to Hogwarts from anywhere in Britain, if you cannot reasonably (its across the country) access King's Cross they don't mind if you use the Floo Network straight to the Three Broomsticks, for instance, to get your kid to school on time, or use Apparition to get to the same.
    • "The practice became somewhat frowned upon". Uhm, why? I'm usually the one to bitch about the wizards' ignorance to progress, but in this particular case I have the totally opposite sentiment. Transportation is one of the fields where wizards beat us by a mile (I mean Floo, of course, not carriages). It is ridiculous that anybody would be willing to go to all the material, organisational, human-power, and logistic expenses of organising and running a railway, moreover a concealed one, when they can achieve the same effect with a freaking fireplace.
    • Because it wasn't the trains that caused things to be frowned upon, it was the fact that Muggles were noticing the other methods and that not everyone can Apparate or is comfortable with Apparition, and so trains were introduced to prevent this violation of the Statute of Secrecy. Trains do not draw Muggle attention like brooms and carpets or any other flying methods, and they do not cause discomfort that Apparition, Portkeys, Floo Powder, and prolonged flying does, and they also don't really even cause motion sickness (that Portkeys, Apparition and Floo Powder cause). It's also more reliable than Apparition or Floo Powder, because you can either be badly injured by getting Splinched, or come out the wrong grate. We now know that you can be Splinched even if you're a side-along partner, because Ron gets Splinched in Book 7, so even that's not safe. Factor in all the luggage and it's not a good method. While the station being only at one location is inconvenient, Wizards seem to do this globally, because Gringotts sounds to be the only wizarding bank in the world, but it's in London. Putting all of the students on a train ensures they all arrive at the same time. The train is far more efficient than anything else they could use for transporting a thousand students to one location in a timely manner, even if it is mundane.
    • Considering the Hogwarts Express uses the same tracks as British Rail, not some sort of concealed pocket-dimension tracks — else, Ron and Harry couldn't have followed it in the flying car — it could be that whomever slips its journeys into the rail system's schedule on the sly can only manage this feat for a single express trip. There are plenty of other trains, both passenger and cargo, in Britain; it's surely quite a chore just to arrange one window of opportunity for an extra train that Muggles can't know is coming to slip in and out of London, without colliding with any others. Trying to do the same for a bunch of smaller cities, as well, is just logistically unfeasible.
  • I always assumed there were other locations for Hogwarts students to go to that would bring them to the Hogwarts Express and I always heard Word of God that there were floo network locations set up for young Muggleborns to go to. It also wouldn't be impossible in the magical world that you may not have to go to King's Cross Station and that many of the methods from other locations would simply bring you onto the Platform at King's Cross Station from all over the country.

     TROLL IN THE DUNGEON! Let's send 25% of the student population off to the dungeons! 
  • After Quirrell busts in and alerts everyone to the troll's presence, Dumbledore orders the prefects to lead the students of their respective houses to the common rooms. Including the Slytherin students. Whose common room is in the dungeons. Did no one see the problem with this?
    • Explanation A: JK Rowling was laughing her ass of while writting that scene.
    • Explanation B: I don't really remember if we find out where the Slytherin common room is in the first book, but if it wasn't mentioned, then JK Rowling might not have decided exactly where in the school the Slytherin dorms were.
    • Explanation C: The Slytherin Dungeons are located in a different area of the school than the troll was (though how Dumbledore would have known that is unsure, as Quirrel never said).
    • Explanation D: Dumbledore just really hates Slytherins.
    • Explanation C seems to be the most likely. Plus, if the Troll was anywhere near the Slytherin Common Room, Quirrell probably would have shouted "TROLL IN THE SLYTHERIN COMMON AREA!" Another thing is that the Troll Quirrell was yelling about could very well have been the one he used to help guard the Stone. He was in the process of moving it from the dungeons to the third-floor corridor, and decided to let it run free. Then he ran into the Great Hall pretending to panic, and Dumbledore, who would have been aware of the route Quirrell planned on using to transport the Troll, was confident that it couldn't be anywhere near the Slytherin Common Room.
    • It's actually 50% of the student population - the Hufflepuffs have their common room near the kitchens, which are below the great hall.
    • Interestingly, depending on where and when it's built, "dungeon" may refer to a castle's keep—the most fortified tower. It wouldn't strictly be incorrect to say that either Griffendor or Ravenclaw live in a dungeon.
    • Whether or not the troll was near the entrance to the Slytherin dorms, they were being escorted by their prefects, who would probably be competent enough to protect the younger students (considering Ron and Harry were able to take it out, I'd say it was a pushover), and the teachers were headed that way. They might have stayed close to the Slytherin students.

    Hagrid can fly? 
  • When Harry and Hagrid are about to leave the island, Harry asks how Hagrid got there in the first place. Hagrid responds that he flew. How?
    • Side-along apparition or a Portkey, apparently.
    • Most likely, in my opinion, he used the flying motorcycle that he used in the first chapter. I know it says that he returned it, but it's possible that, after he "realized" that Sirius Black was a criminal about to go to Azkaban, he kept the motorcycle. He probably gave it back after he found out that Sirius was innocent, though.
    • Aaaand, after he arrived to the island this motorcycle dissappeared... where to, exactly?
    • Hagrid said that he was allowed to use magic in getting the Hogwarts letter to Harry. Presumably, once he'd delivered the letter, his official task was over, and he wasn't allowed to use magic even indirectly, such as the flying motorcycle. Remember he was nervous about even using a minor charm to speed up the rowboat, let alone something as conspicuous as a flying motorcycle in broad daylight.
    • Also, the motorcycle is almost definitely illegal, being that it's a modified Muggle artifact. Arthur Weasley gets in hot water at work for modifying a car, and he probably got out of it only by pointing out the loophole he'd added to the law when he was drafting it. Hagrid would have gotten the book thrown at him, and even The Boy Who Lived would probably have gotten in hot water for being involved in conspicuous magic less than 12 hours after discovering he's a wizard.
    • Thestral.
    • He's too heavy for them.
    • Wait a minute, supposin' two thestrals carried him together...
    • Another possibility: what if Dumbledore loaned Hagrid his Deluminator, attuned to find Harry? That would not only explain how Hagrid got to the island, but also how he was able to find Harry's location no matter where Uncle Vernon hid his family. Hagrid loved James and Lily, and he felt very strongly for baby Harry when he was transporting him, so his heart probably could lead him to the boy with the Deluminator's assistance.
    • Personally, I'd chalk it up to it being the first book in the series, and therefore the series is not fully thought-out at the time.
    • I find it far more likely he apparated but couldn't find a way to explain to a eleven year old with no magical knowledge what it was (or perhaps more likely didn't feel like it as it was very early in the morning).
    • After reading the second book, I thought he used Floo Powder, using the fireplace owned by the shack owner. It was late at night, so he could do it totally without notice and just leave. The words are phonetically identical. It doesn't totally answer how he was able to get to the shack, but I again assumed, this time that he used a levitation spell, an assumption that still stands because it is enough to suspend Harry and a large sidecar and his luggage and Hedwig's cage kilometres in the air.

     Dudley Dursley's math skills 
  • Sooo.... after counting his birthday presents, Dudley has no problems whatsoever calculating that his thirty-six birthday presents are "two less than last year." When Petunia points out that he's missed one, he corrects himself and says all right, he has thirty-seven presents. While this scene does highlight his greed, it at least proves that he has a basic grasp of elementary addition and subtraction. However, ten seconds later when Petunia says they'll get him two more presents, he's suddenly too stupid to work out what thirty-seven plus two is? Is Dudley somehow unable to grasp any number larger than thirty-eight (like the rabbits in Watership Down can't count past four), or is this a new world record in Took a Level in Dumbass?
    • Possibly he's good at counting things he can see or remember seeing, but not things he has to imagine in his head.
    • Or he just wanted to hear his mother say he'd get thirty-nine presents.

     Did the Trio almost become a Quartet 
  • As same site as above (and same thread) people said the Trio (ie. Harry/Ron/Hermione) might have become a Quartet because there would have been one for everyone. I,e. Neville's would have been Devil Snare, Harry's flying, Ron's chess, Hermione's Potion. Like what would have happened if Neville decided to go with them?
    • Exactly the same thing as did happen, except that the solution to burn the Snares would've probably offered by Neville instead of Hermie.
    • Despite the historical revisionism that some fans like to employ; Neville was useless in almost every conceivable way before the second half of book 5 to the point that he was suspected both in-universe and out of being a borderline squib (please point out some examples if you think I am wrong). And his much celebrated herbology abilities? were only stated to be greater than average in book 4; which would invalidate the sole reason he would have been there. I find it extremely unlikely there was ever a plan to have him join the trio.
    • Had Neville made it past the Snare he would have been useless with catching the keys because he's horrible at flying. He may or may not survive the chess game (Ron might have had to alter his strategy if it meant causing the death of a friend), and after that he'd be no help with the potions challenge. After that he'd be unable to accompany Harry because the correct potion was only enough for one person, therefore he'd have nothing left to help with, or have been of help beforehand.

     Why The Masquerade? 
  • There seems to be no good reason for them being hidden. Hagrid says "People'd want magical solutions to all of their problems." And? So wizards get rich fixing things for Muggles. Later the witch hunts are allegedly why, but the history book Harry reads itself admits they were never in much danger, since they could just use magic to save themselves (something that never apparently occurred to real witch hunters). In the 16th-17th centuries, the height of witch hunts, Muggle technology was not even close to being a match for their magic as shown in the series. While it's true good wizards might not enslave Muggles, the evil ones (Death Eaters, Grindelwald) explicitly had this as one of their aims. So what prevents it? How could even Muggles of today defend against people who can brainwash, erase memories, implant memories, kill, and teleport by saying magic words? Sure, we do have advanced weapons, but wizards can just make the people in charge of them into their slaves. The Harry Potter series like many fantasy stories relies on Like Reality Unless Noted, which requires that we ignore how wizards should by all logic be ruling the world. The Death Eaters' slogan was true, magic is might, and though might does not make right, it certainly makes the supremacist view they have of themselves plausible: they are superior. Of course, the fact magic is genetic means that according to natural selection it should have become ubiquitous among humans for the simple reason that magic users have a much better chance of survival vs. Muggles. Assuming this somehow isn't the case, however, the most probable outcome is a tiny elite of magic users ruling the Muggle world, likely worshiped as gods or near enough-at the very least, being feudal overlords. In short, this is a huge Plot Hole which sucks down the rest of what is otherwise an outstanding series.
    • It is not a plot hole. Do you think witches or wizards want to have to deal with every single little problem your muggle neighbiours have from their kid being sick to relationship problems and wanting you to make them a love potion or (any other kind of potion)? Guess how many doctors (and other Muggle jobs) would be shut down since a government would be like *oh we don't need doctors, nurses, vets or (blank) because these magical people can do it instead." Also your so called 'not explained'logic about why wizards haven't taken over the Muggle world has been explained MULTIPLE Times in the books. It's the reason like DD never became Minstry of Magic-didn't want to risk the power of that job. And I believe that Grindelwald might have taken over the Muggle world-but we don't know anything about him except him formerly being friends to Dumbledore and Bagshot's great-nephew. Also how long would it be before Muggles once again start to blame the magical people for 'wrong' things like we are doing currently today with Muslims?
    • If they don't want to help Muggles, there'd be nothing forcing them to. Technology has made many jobs obsolete too, but that never stopped it happening before. Magic is far more effective than our medicine, obviously, so if that were real, it'd be for the best. While Dumbledore might not have wanted to take power, others clearly did, as evidenced by Grindelwald. There's some hint he had power over Muggles, but the big question would be: "why does a dark wizard stay hiding?" It's not like he'd care about the secrecy rules they have. While the Muggles might blame wizards, there's very little they could do against people who can kill, brainwash or simply teleport away with just a flick of their wands. This is noted in the books themselves, as I said.
    • The thing with wizards not wanting anyone to know about their magic "because they'll want help with their problems" would be absolutely consistent in a work like Atlas Shrugged; the explanation really doesn't seem to wash here as the series places such an emphasis on teamwork, Heart, co-operation, integration, Death Eater-ish ways being wrong, et cetera...how can the people who have the capacity to do immense good, but choose not to as it's a hassle, possibly be the good guys? Again, in an Ayn Rand novel they would easily be seen as heroes, but by J.K.'s own moral logic, the masquerade ought to be seen as unacceptable.
    • I don't think it would make sense in an Atlas Shrugged world either. Ayn Rand's characters are nothing if not capitalistic, and having magical powers could make you very rich. There is a parallel however-they're special, like wizards, and hated for their abilities by the mundane (as Muggles might hate wizards). In a more Atlas Shrugged version of Harry Potter I think Harry would be in conflict with the Muggles mostly, and the wizards are hiding due to persecution over jealousy. Voldemort and the Death Eaters might even be reinvented into heroic characters battling jealous Muggles (probably with more positive names, of course) who refuse to acknowledge their innate superiority. Hmm...this could be a story idea. Of course we'd need a really good reason why wizards don't just turn their persecutors into frogs or something.
    • Personal theory: it's a lie told to wizards so they can maintain their own dignity while keeping themselves isolated. Much like how in North Korea, the government-controlled media tells its citizens that the rest of the world is a desolate wasteland and North Korea is the only shining beacon of hope. For centuries, Muggles have been able to defeat wizardkind if it came to all-out war. Wizards might win with surprise initially, but given the numbers, Muggles would eventually drive wizards to extinction. This could have begun from the gunpowder age when wizards truly feared muggles (which, coincidentally, is around the last time witch hunts were popular in western countries). As Muggle weapons have advanced, wizards have stagnated. In today's age, nearly any Muggle with a shotgun could take down a wizard on even ground (Author admits this as well). And let's not count trained military units, missiles, nukes, drones, etc. So the lie/belief is spread around wizarding society that "letting muggles know will be troublesome for you" when reality is that "letting Muggles know could end up with you dead."
    • About North Korea telling lies. It wouldn't be the first time a dictator of a country or countries told lies about people. The communist dictators in Russia between 1914ish-1989? or what about Hitler in 1934 who claim that Jew, gypsies, same-sex people were 'bad'?
    • That would make more sense, and fits with Rowling's comments, but like I said, the abilities make it seem like they're more able to defend against Muggles. Or better yet, take over the world long ago before Muggle technology progressed.
    • Except at that point there were witch hunts. Sure real witches didn't get hurt. But think of those thousands of Muggles who did die because they weren't wizards/witches?
    • In our world, we take witch hunts as a lesson in how people can be led into hysteria over fantasies (an important one, to be sure). The Harry Potter books, however, give another lesson: "Muggles just weren't good at catching real witches." Not only were the witches real, they could do much of what was alleged, and let thousands die in their place. Nice job, that. It makes you wonder how much of the crimes Muggles alleged of witches were really true in the Harry Potter world. For instance, the "Salem Witches Institute" gets mentioned briefly in the fourth book. So there actually were witches at Salem, apparently. Likely the people hanged were just Muggles, but does that mean the allegations were based on at least some truth, even if the actual witches weren't caught? A lot of unsettling questions like this are raised if you think of it.
    • Actually there wouldn't have been that much of a stretch to mistake a Muggle person as a magic one. Remember until the 1800s women mostly had to be the families' own doctors. Real ones were mostly quacks aka fakes. So one of the things they would need to do is make their own medicine which means needing ingredients that real magic people might have used.
    • There is another possible reason for the masquerade: Wizards are worried that Muggles will learn how to cast magic. The ability to use magic is transmitted by blood therefore there would logically have to be something physical in blood that is an enabler. It would take years to isolate it but it really shouldn't be that difficult for a team of the worlds best scientists to work out how it works once discovered.
    • I think your theory is close to the most plausible. Not this scenario specifically, since most wizards show near-complete ignorance of Muggles, including modern science. However, they obviously know that magic is a hereditary ability. While on the one hand it's true they would have died out without having children by Muggles, as Hagrid says, the old families don't like the idea. They know that the more wizards, the less it's special to be one, even if that's ridiculously short-sighted. Of course this still doesn't explain why they don't attempt to rule the world, but maybe that would just be too hard. Wizards are vastly outnumbered by Muggles, as we see-they might win just from that if it came to straight-up war. Not to mention that like I said they know little of Muggles, and thus would likely underestimate modern technology's abilities.

     Chocolate Frogs  
  • Is there any evidence that the chocolate frogs in the books are alive for lack of a better word is is this just another thing that the films invented? because whilst in the films they move and bounce and jump out windows and croak; in the books I don't remember a single character having to make any particular effort to catch one. From what I can tell from the book description they sound like nothing more than frog shaped chocolate.
    • Yeah, I'm fairly certain the whole "sentient chocolate" thing was just in the movie.

     The Secret Lesson  
  • Originally I thought Hagrid forgot to tell Harry how to get through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4 (which would be perfectly in character for him) however if you read the memory in book six where Dumbledore gives Tom Riddle his ticket he doesn't tell him how to get onto the platform either. Anyone else think that trying to get onto the platform might be a bit of a secret lesson for new students? Maybe there is actually some trick to using the ticket that you are meant to figure out beforehand or you are actually supposed to identify other wizards and ask them for the method. After all it is stated that you are not allowed to be afraid of the barrier or you will fail to pass through it... sounds like perfect advice for somewhere as dangerous as Hogwarts huh? Incidentally Ron was excused from the task given how he has seen his brothers do it several times.

     The Boy Who Lived, according to who? 
  • I've only seen the movies so apologies if this is answered in the books. Everyone talks about how Harry is the only one to ever survive the Killing Curse. How does anybody know that's what happened? The only people around at the time were Lily (freshly dead), Harry (who can't exactly talk yet), and Voldemort (now a wraith/spirit/thing). Why was the first conclusion of this situation "Harry survived a killing curse which has never been done before in the history of ever" instead of "Lily and Voldemort killed each other somehow and injured baby Harry in the process"?
    • Because Lily's wand could have been inspected to show it didn't fire anything lethal. Voldemort's body might have been there and it would bear no wound, meaning a Killing Curse must have struck him. Harry's scar also could be recognized to be a magical scar. There are ways of detecting that, as shown by when Bill was wounded by Greyback and the magical nature of the scars meant they could never heal.
    • Doesn't hold up. Harry didn't have a wand either, why assume it was him? If baby Harry could invoke some kind of magic shield on himself, why couldn't Lily? Secondly, they didn't have Voldemort's wand to inspect, so it could easily be assumed it was his own spell backfiring. Peter Pettigrew had it the whole time, somehow.
    • In addition to traces of magic left around, the Killing Curse was practically Voldemort's "signature spell". After seeing the scar on Harry's forehead and seeing his parents' bodies, with no marks but dead (a hallmark of the Killing Curse), it would have made sense to assume that Harry was attacked and survived somehow. Since it was known that Voldemort was targeting the Potters, it was a safe assumption that he had done the attacking, even if he hadn't left a body behind.
    • Nobody would have even guessed it was a killing curse. Clearly, killing curses have never failed before, they don't cause things to blow up or disintegrate bodies. Whatever happened that night, BOTH these things occurred. Unless they were told by some authority figure on scene (hint hint... Dumbledore?) everyone would assume the cause was some kind of spell that is supposed to blow up.
    • I've seen this discussed and there's is a theory that because wizards are so bigoted that they went oh' it couldn't be lilly, she's a muggleborn, it must of been the son because at least he has two magical parents.

     Crazy cat lady? Nothing suspicious here. 
  • The books portray the Dursley (especially Vernon) as complete paranoids nutcases. They will do a big deal of anything slightly out of ordinary, and their image of wizards and witches is very cliched. So why do they leave Harry alone with a woman who has "witch" written across her face? I mean, an old, weird lady who lives alone with a lot of cats? We know she isn't but it's strange they wouldn't think about that.
    • The Dursleys are also mingy bastards who will not willingly spend a dime on Harry Potter except for the absolute minimum necessary to avoid being arrested for child neglect, and Mrs. Figg is the only source of free baby-sitting in the area.
    • They are only mingy to give Harry a good life. When it's about sever his ties to the magical world they will do anything: they travelled through all UK and slept in a filthy and crumbling hut in a storm only to avoid him going to Hogwarts, among other things. They could hire some "normal" girl with finantial needs and try to pay her the minimum.
    • Getting Harry a babysitter who would actually treat him well rather than making him suffer the Doom of Crazy Cat Lady falls under "give Harry a good life", therefore the Dursleys would rather die than spend a penny on it.
    • Alternatively, that "portrayal" is a misconception born purely out of the anti-non-wiz bias this story is infused with, and Dursleys are not complete idiots and understand that owning cats and beeing loopy has nothing to do with being a witch (having had, you know, a witch for a relative). Hell, they might've written that possibility out because she lived in such squalor, since to any half-sensible person "poor wizard" is an oxymoron. Also that half-sensible person would naturally assume that if there was a witch living nearby, DD would've certainly told them, naive as it may be. And while we're at it, the non-biased reason they do send him to her is that she's lonely and ostensibly crazy, so if/when Harry does magic in front of her, she wouldn't out them, which is their second worst constant fear, or at least nobody would believe her.

    Nothing in the forest will attack you. . . probably 
  • When Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Malfoy are all serving detention with Hagrid, he says that there's nothing in the forest that will attack someone if they're with him or Fang. This is patently untrue: not only would a centaur be perfectly willing to attack a student who offended them (particularly if their only escort was a dog who, by Hagrid's own admission, is "a coward"), and Hagrid should know full well that the nest of acromantulas would be thrilled to attack any hapless student who wandered into their domain. (I know Hagrid believes the best of Aragog, but he must've noticed that his "family" would have been more than happy to eat any random human that wandered into their nest.) And even if you discount both of them, there never used to be anything in the forest that would attack a unicorn, but there clearly is now. Ergo, sending FOUR ELEVEN YEAR OLDS (well, two eleven year olds, one twelve year old, and one kid who might be eleven or twelve) into a dark, terrifying forest in the middle of the night with only a dog as an escort (a fat lot of good he'll do if they get lost) for one of the two groups while some completely unknown danger is at large, and attacking and killing animals that are notoriously hard to catch, might not be the best idea.
    • And beyond that, if the thing attacking the unicorns was a dark wizard (which it was), than exactly how were any of them supposed to defend themselves or each other? Hagrid's group, cower behind his legs while your escort shoots the guy with a crossbow. Fang's group, send up sparks and hope that Hagrid shows up quickly to shoot the guy with his crossbow. How was this detention ever approved? Shouldn't McGonagall have realised how ridiculously unsafe it was and stepped in? Shouldn't Snape? They're Harry's, Neville's, and Hermione's, as well as Malfoy's heads of houses respectively; they should have at least been told what the detention was, and I have a hard time believing that either wouldn't step in immediately.
    • McGonagall at least has being oblivious to the problems of her Gryffindors as an established character trait, so while it doesn't excuse her behavior it does at least explain it. There is no explanation for Snape however; despite all his other personality flaws there is no way you can say that Snape doesn't take care of his Slytherins, and likewise you can't ever say that he's stupid. Furthermore, Snape is more aware of the actual dangers around the school this year than anybody except Dumbledore, because he knows that Quirrell serves the Dark Lord, has already tried to kill Harry at the quidditch match, and is after the Philosopher's Stone. Even if he didn't know about the Forbidden Forest part and that was just a wild hare Hagrid had at the last minute, the simple fact that they'd be outside at midnight, without an adult wizard along to look out for them, should have had Snape hitting the roof.
    • about Snape I hate to point out Snape has NO clue about the fact the "Dark Lord" is "with" Quirel. He justs assumes that Qurriel wants it for himself.
    • The centaurs specifically say they won't attack children and Hagrid would know well enough to keep far away from Aragog's nest. And no one knew what was attacking the unicorns.
    • No one knowing what was attacking the unicorns is entirely the problem: who sends eleven-year-olds to find out? And Hagrid split the party - if the group with Fang had followed a trail in Aragog's direction, they wouldn't have known to turn back.

    Huge security breach? Or just an early installment weirdness? 
  • Harry suggests to Ron that he write to Charlie about getting rid of Norbert, and in reply, Charlie tells them to meet his friends at the top of the Astronomy Tower who are flying to Romania to visit him. In subsequent books we are told about the different enchantments that prevent things like Apparition on the Hogwarts grounds for security reasons, and yet a group of wizards are able to fly on broomsticks to the tallest tower? Is this just an oversight or can you really just fly into Hogwarts, in which case this seems to be a huge security breach.
    • In the sixth book both Harry and Dumbledore use broomsticks to fly to the Astronomy Tower, though Harry hears Dumbledore muttering counterspells to deactivate defense charms around the area. One could handwave this by saying those defense charms weren't in place during Harry's first year, then were put in place in his sixth year due to heightened security from the return of Voldemort.
    • Not the greatest excuse, though, since in the first book, Hogwarts was supposed to be the most secure location in the world. Dumbledore was supposed to be protecting the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort. If he had backup that could just fly into the astronomy tower, Voldemort wouldn't even have had to approach the castle himself.
    • If we assume the protective charms are still in place then we simply also assume that Dumbledore took them down so the dragon shipment could leave without notice. Dumbledore has a habit of turning a blind eye to rule breaking if it's not hurting anyone, and if anyone else found out about Norbert then Hagrid was in huge trouble. So he lowers the wards, dragon leaves, he puts the wards back up and acts like nothing happened.

My impression was because 1)most of the world thought Voldy was dead. Also the Death Eaters were still in a distray (when by this point a lot of them excluding Malfoys, Snape and Karoff) were in Azkban. Why would there have been a need for extra security like in book 6?

     Guns and Beatings 
  • So Harry Potter is set in a universe that is identical to ours apart from magic correct? In that case how did 1) Vernon buy a rifle so easily in a country where guns are illegal and 2) How does Smeltings legally have a club as part of the uniform that students can use to beat each other with? Even if Vernon had a firearms license for some contrived reason, no one can simply buy one in the space of a single car journey like he does, and Smeltings would have been shut down the very second those sticks came to light (and probably with a huge public scandal that stretched all the way to the prime minister). Maybe if this was set in the 1950s you could have gotten away with it, but not the 1990s.
    • Uncle Vernon had a shotgun. I seem to recall that shotguns used to be less restricted (this is in 1991). It wasn't one he already had, as Petunia was surprised about it. Maybe his family had it? You can also buy guns illegally in the UK I'm sure. No idea on the clubs though.
    • It's a rifle, iirc, though I don't know the restrictions around that. (As to where a determinedly normal, respectable, unimaginative citizen like Vernon would have found at such short notice a place to buy a gun illegally...)
    • Rifles are allowed for things like deer stalking and certain types of field sports, licensed in the same way that shotguns are for pheasant and grouse shooting. It is possible that Vernon, with his desire for upper-middle class respectability, had friends who went deer stalking or may have done it himself at some point and either borrowed a gun from them (technically a big no-no, but the upper-middle classes are the worst for thinking that laws apply to other people) or had acquired his own for that purpose.
    • Ironic that we're talking about a series with major themes of elitist thinking and racism.
    • The Smeltings sticks were probably around way back when such things were perfectly fine, and nobody in school administration bothered to have them removed from the school uniform in the modern day.
    • It's mentioned that the Smeltings sticks were used to hit each other "when the teachers weren't looking", specifically. Presumably, they can get away with the sticks by saying "well if students are caught using the sticks to hurt each other they're immediately punished" and just don't mention that they expect the students to be slightly sneakier about hitting their classmates.
    • Where does it ever say that the stick is officially part of the uniform? I was under the impression that it was tradition, from back in Vernon's school days, that the club was the students' weapon of choice, but certainly not condoned by the teachers. it's implied that you had to have one

     Flamel's Elixir Supply 
  • Why couldn't Voldemort simply steal Flamel's stock of elixir? You'd think that would be easier than getting past the defenses at Hogwarts or Gringotts.
    • He probably wanted a way of maintaining a constantly supply of the stuff, which only the stone was able to give him. Plus, hitching a ride in the body of a man as unassuming as Professor Quirrell gives him ample time to explore around Hogwarts and determine how to get the stone without arousing (much) suspicion. This is also assuming that Nicholas Flamel doesn't have ample security gaurding his elixir, which would be unlikely for a 600 year old wizard and alchemist, who was responsible for creating the stone in the first place.

     Harry not in Slytherin? A headscratcher for the fandom. 
  • This line of thought has always, always baffled me. Everyone thinks Harry should have been in Slytherin, but why? The reason Harry and the Hat talk about Slytherin more than the other Houses is because Harry says he doesn't want to be in it, and the Hat is just trying to tell him it's not a bad House, not that he'll put him in it if Harry doesn't shout him down. The Hat just just finished saying Harry could be in literally any of the four houses, equally. "Difficult, very difficult" it said, so had Harry mentioned that he didn't want to be in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, the same thing would have happened. The Hat doesn't give a flying fuck what House you want to be in. Neville begged it for Hufflepuff by name, but was not Sorted as such. The Hat picked Gryffindor because that's where Harry belongs first and foremost, not in second to Slytherin. The wording it uses in both the books and the films referring to Slytherin traits are there to appeal to the fact that it can sense Voldemort. It says Harry wants to prove himself, has a thirst for power, that Slytherin could help him on his way to greatness... all things Harry never once cares about. The songs it sings mention ambition, using any means possible to achieve their own ends, slyness, cunningness, words that really don't describe Harry at all. So why do people think he should be in Slytherin when he has zero qualities of that House? To bang Malfoy?
    • Because in Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore says Harry had a lot of the qualities Salazar Slytherin admired. Harry has nerve, determination, and a certain disregard for rules - all of these are aspects of ambition.
    • And he had a piece of Tom Riddle himself living inside him at said time of the Sorting. The hat might've sensed this and just gotten confused.
    • I think the hat decides mostly on his own but takes the pupils wishes into the whole thing if it is extremely close for 2 houses. In Harrys case Slytherin and Gryffindor where more or less equal and he himself couldn't decide, so he took Harrys wish and sorted him into Gryffindor. Neville on the other hand clearly belonged into Gryffindor, even if he didn't show it yet.

     Was Quirrell serving Voldemort willingly or not? 
  • In the book, Quirrell seems to be totally on board with serving Voldemort, a little sobbing notwithstanding. But what is said about Quirrell on Pottermore instead says he was hijacked against his will and unsuccessfully struggled against Voldemort, giving the situation a completely different vibe as well as contradicting what's said in the book. Is there some way these two options mesh together that I'm just not seeing? The difference between some jackass who bought Voldemort's lies and served him willingly and some sap who got a really raw end of the stick is somewhat noticeable.
    • From what I recall, the "sobbing" part was Quirrell struggling against obeying Voldemort's orders. I think this shows he was never completely onboard, and it was made clear that Voldemort is inhabiting his body. Quirrell does make a speech to Harry about having been taught "the truth" by Voldemort later though. I think he thus a mix of both the jackass and sap. Jackass, since he dabbled in the dark arts, sought to find Voldemort and apparently believes in his ideology, but also a sap. In the Pottermore entry it says he foolishly believed himself capable of controlling an encounter with Voldemort, but was possessed by him instead. That seems like a sap to me.
    • I'm ready to buy some kind of a combination of jackass and sap, but there's another contradiction: on Pottermore, it's stated Voldemort took possession of Quirrell at once, while in PS/SS it only happened after the robbery at Gringotts (in the novel, anyway). Moreover, while I can't find the section, I'm sure the part where Quirrell protested was shortly before the climax of the novel. Quite a leap to from that to "There is only power, and those too weak to seek it" in a couple of chapters.
    • I don't recall it being shown that Voldemort only took possession of Quirrell after the Gringotts robbery, or when he protested. Someone will have to look that up I guess.
    • It's in the final chapter: "When I failed to steal the stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He punished me… decided he would have to keep a closer watch on me." That, and in the novel Quirrell shakes Harry's hand in the Leaking Cauldron, which should have been impossible with Voldemort latched to him, and isn't mentioned wearing a turban until at Hogwarts.

    • Interesting. So it seems that Quirrell was in league with Voldermort, but not possessed by him yet then. Maybe after his failure Voldemort decided he had to take direct control. You're right however, it would contradict the Pottermore entry.

    • Yeah, that's how I understood it before the Pottermore entry came along and made it all confusing. Thinking about it now, there are even more issues: how, exactly, did Quirrell bring Voldemort back to Britain with him if he wasn't possessed yet? Hell, how did he come to follow him? Since Quirrell was already under Voldemort's influence before being possessed, they must have been able to communicate one way or another. Only, with Voldemort being so weak, could he even speak? He's apparently barely strong enough to speak at the end of the novel even when possessing Quirrell and after the strength from unicorn blood. (This is an issue even in the Pottermore version of the events, since there it says Voldemort possessed Quirrell as soon as he realised he was a Hogwarts teacher... but how exactly did he realise that? Was Quirrell waving a "I'M A TEACHER AT HOGWARTS" foam finger around? They must have talked pre-possession.)
    • You're right, it raises a lot of questions. However, on Voldemort realizing that Quirrell was a Hogwarts teacher, that was probably because of his mind-reading powers (which are established later). This is hardly the only contradiction in the books though. It seems like Rowling forgot exactly what she wrote at times (not surprising given the length of the series).
    • Good point, I hadn't thought of that. And yeah, the plot holes are pretty much inevitable with a long-running series like this. (Perhaps this one isn't a particularly important one, but it's something that puzzles me all the same).
    • Not to worry, that's what the page is for :)

    Why did people assume Voldemort died when he attacked the Potters? 
  • I can't find anything about WHY people knew Voldemort was destroyed when he attacked the Potters. As far as anyone on the scene would know, Voldemort had attacked them then disappeared. And, while Dumbledore knew Voldemort intended to attack Harry because of the prophecy, he and everyone else had little reason to suspect that he had attempted it on the 31st. If anything, they have ALL the reason to suspect that Harry's cut was simply from a piece of debris or an accident earlier that night, as there was no precedent for surviving AK. To ANYONE, even Dumbledore, the logical conclusion is that Voldemort killed the Potters and left. Yes, he wanted to kill Harry, but as there was no evidence of an attempt to do so that made sense at the time, the only logical conclusion, however unlikely, was that he fled for some reason. So yeah, why jump to the "he tried to AK Harry and it destroyed him" conclusion? Is there any comment from Rowling or anything about it?
    • Probably his body lying there in the house would be a big reason. Ignoring the last movie making him disintegrate for some inexplicable reason, when Voldy dies for good in Deathly Hallows his body is still there and had to be moved afterward. Unless becoming a Horcrux spirit does something weird to your body, it would've been left there in the Potters' house the first time he "died". As for why it was assumed the scar was from the Killing Curse, only Dumbledore seems to suspect it and he's been studying the effects of love magic for some time. As mentioned in the "First Loving Mother" folder, it's possible this wasn't the first case of an AK backfire from sacrifice, so a history of starved victims with odd scars left on them might have suggested a pattern to Dumbledore.

    Why did Scabbers bite Goyle on the train? 
  • Considering that Scabbers is really Peter Pettigrew (read: coward), what could motivate Peter to bite Goyle and possibly suffer retaliation? Loyalty to his master (Ron)? Surely he didn't think he'd suffer lasting damage on the school train if that were the case?
    • Remember that we're talking about someone who's also impulsive and doesn't think much about the moment. Aside from that, he seemed to express at least a small degree of affection for Ron if he was being genuine with his words when he was first seen in his human form. That, and when the book was written, this really was just a pet rat.
    • Or maybe he feels sympathy for Ron - if I remember Pettigrew's character correctly, he was weak-willed and a coward, and may have been bullied by others during his time at Hogwarts. No one's going to be the wiser if a rat bites someone, so he may have simply figured, Why not?
    • There was a theory elsewhere, that Pettegrew would let the animal mind take charge most of the time - just to stay sane (this is also the only plausible explanation of why the Twins never saw him on the Map). So it was actually Scabbers who bit Goyle.

     Unicorn blood 
  • Why did Tom need Quirrell to drink unicorn blood in order to sustain him? The blood was only known to keep you alive should you be just on the brink of death, and at this point, as revealed later, Tom has already concealed pieces of his soul inside seven different Horcruxes, and thus literally cannot die. Not to mention, he was already close to obtaining the Sorcerer's Stone from inside the castle, so did he really have to go off hunting unicorns in the forest, thereby drawing more attention to himself in the process?
    • I think that meant physically on the brink of death, as in his body. Quirrell was very weakened through Voldemort possessing him, and dies after he leaves. While he was close to the Stone, he hadn't gotten it yet and thus may have had to risk it.
    • The movie, at least, states that unicorn blood will save you even if you are at the brink of death, not only under that circumstance.

     The door to Fluffy's room 
  • So Dumbledore was smart enough to put so many precautions in place to protect the stone...yet the door leading to them can still be unlocked using magic, by a first-year, no less? Couldn't there have been some way of making it charm-proof or something?
    • Not if said first-years were supposed to access that room.
    • I'll do you one better; why the heck to wizards bother using ANY kind of lock, if a first year can 'alohamora' it open? (I don't quite recall, is there some sort of charm or ward that can enforce a lock?)
    • The trio tries using Alohamora on the door leading past Flitwick's trial later on, and it doesn't work, so yes, there are charms to prevent it from being used.

    • In the book it's implied that Dumbledore WANTED the kids to be able to unlock it in the 1st place. It's like he knows Voldmort is in the castle and he's after the stone.

     Why do the Dursleys keep Harry? 
  • When the Dursleys found baby Harry on their doorstep, why did they even take him in if they didn't want him? Even if they thought they could have stomped his magical heritage out of him, why would they even find that worth the time and effort? The book already established that they don't give much of a hoot about Petunia's sister and her husband - when Vernon hears their names being mentioned, he's more concerned with the Dursleys becoming tied to them somehow than with the Potters possibly being in danger, and Petunia herself doesn't react any better, really.
    • Dumbledore apparently told her in a letter he left with him that Harry could only be safe in her home, due to the sacrifice that his mother made protecting him through their blood relation. While she dislikes him, Petunia doesn't want to have Harry killed by Voldemort either. Vernon later does try to throw Harry out, but Dumbledore sends a Howler exhorting her to "remember my last" (i.e., the letter he left with Harry), so Petunia convinces Vernon not to (without telling him the actual reason).
    • I've now read up to that point in the fifth book, but I'm still not quite sure I understand the reasoning for it. So Petunia is (supposedly; we never see her object to it) fine with Vernon throwing Harry out of the house, forcing him to live on the streets and risk him being killed by Voldemort, up until Dumbledore sends the Howler, reminding her...of what? That throwing Harry out of the house would force him to live on the streets and risk getting him captured and killed by Voldemort? If that was all Dumbledore's first letter entailed, it doesn't make much sense that the Howler would do much to change her mind, especially since the issue of Voldemort targeting Harry was the entire basis of the attempt to throw him out onto the street.
    • Dumbledore didn't just tell her in the first letter that Voldemort wants to kill Harry, but also that Harry is the one prophesied to kill Voldemort and in their Dursley home he's protected from Voldemort until adulthood. So Petunia knows they don't have to worry about Voldemort targeting them and that if a mad wizard dictator kills Harry and takes over Britain then it's all her fault.
    • Speaking of which, if Vernon wants Harry out to keep his family safe from Voldemort, and Harry living there does keep the family safe from Voldemort, then why doesn't Petunia tell him why Harry is staying? At the very least, it'd calm his fears.
    • Petunia seems to subscribe to the very old fashioned, but still not totally dead even in the 2010s, English middle-class view that a husband's place is in the right. She seems to be the stereotypical housewife and would therefore not be prepared to do what she would see as undermining him by doing anything other than supporting his anger and outrage. Plus Petunia might not actually believe that herself, we just don't know how in the loop she was.
    • Maybe I’m naive, but I was under the impression after reading the books that Petunia, very deep inside, does loved her sister and she does felt that had the moral obligation to take care of her nephew, as is her only living blood relative other than his son.
    • It's not just you - I'm pretty sure that's how it was supposed to come across, at least more toward the end. The seventh film even had a deleted scene where Petunia talks with Harry as the Dursleys are preparing to go into hiding. She reminds him that he didn't just lose a mother the night Lily died, that she lost a sister, as well. By the end of the series, it's implied she's at least somewhat accepted the fact that it wasn't Harry's or Lily's fault that she wasn't allowed to go to Hogwarts, the reason she came to dislike magic to begin with, and that she shouldn't hate either of them for it.
    • That actually fits with HP as a coming of age story. In the first book Harry is entirely at the mercy of his aunt and Uncle who are callous and abusive and fantasizes about escaping them. By the last book when they no longer have power over him he can see them for what they really are: A woman bitter that she couldn't live her sister's life, and maybe sad she couldn't make peace with Lily, and a close minded old man who is agitated by the way Harry's presence upsets his wife. It stands in contrast to Thomas Riddles hang ups about his own family.
    • That...is such a very moving, profound way of summarizing it. I cannot help but salute you, my good sir. (Or ma'am, whichever the case may be.) How very impressive!

     Welcome to Fort Knox- I Mean, Hogwarts 
  • I understand that Hogwarts is an ancient, prestigious institution. (Debatable). I understand that it's important to keep children safe, and that in terms of magical education, wizards don't seem to have too many options: Durmstrag, Beauxbatons, or Hogwarts. (Or possibly Homeschooling). But why on Earth is security so tight at Hogwarts? You can't apparate there, the professors seem to be some of the most competent magic users in all of Britain, there are all sorts of defensive wards and bizarre creatures hanging around the grounds... good glory, I know it's a time of war and uncertainty, but K-12 schools aren't exactly supposed to be major military targets.
    • Why is security so tight there? Does this really need asking? Every year Harry attended someone was murdered or almost murdered. A better question is: why isn't security even tighter? Or better yet, how does it remain open after all that?
    • I've never understood people's viewpoint on this. A sociopathic, egotistical, and powerful terrorist continually tries to break into and overturn a prestigious and well-known school, many times due to reasons only he would view as important, and the solution everyone puts forward is to blame the school. Yes, the plot of the first book could've been avoided if someone had just asked Quirrell to unravel his turban at some point, if only as a security check, but most of the other books had infiltrations that were a lot more complicated. (Not to mention, it wasn't until the end of the first film that anyone knew Voldemort was even close to coming back - obviously, Flamel wouldn't have expected any old thief to be willing to break into highly-secured school to get the stone.)
    • "most of the other books had infiltrations that were a lot more complicated". Let's see. 2nd - use of a student to unwittingly smuggle in an evil artifact they were later shown they have the means to detect. 3rd - use of an ability to turn into a dog they were later shown they have means to detect, i.e. the goddamn surveliance cameras. 4th - use of shapeshifting they were later shown they have the means to dispell. 5th - use of telepathy the headmaster knew about but kept silent. 6th - use of an agent the headmaster knew was an agent but refused to act against.
    • The school's not to blame for everything which happened, but you'd think parents would be more reluctant to send their kids there by now.
    • To be fair, though, in the later books, a lot of them are. In the first three, Dumbledore and co. were able to do damage control and fix everything before it got too out-of-hand - they didn't reveal Ginny's involvement in the events in the Chamber of Secrets, and Lupin quit his job in order to appease the parents. After all, there's always a sort of implied risk when you're sending your kids to a school where magic is taught. It wasn't until Goblet of Fire rolled around, which involed incidents such as an underage wizard either entered the tournament illegally, or was entered against his will, served as the only witness to the death of a competitor in the final event, and came back shouting about the Dark Lord's return. Even after Dumbledore's name was cleared at the end of the fifth book, people still hesitated to send their children back, due to the rising threat of the Death Eaters.
    • That's true, but even before it there were incidents of murder or near-murder. It's a wonder the school stays open.
    • They don't "fix everything" - they get lucky. Like, "I suspect DD is constantly carrying an IV of Luck Potion beneath his robe" lucky. A girl is nearly killed by a troll - saved by a coincedence. Several students are nearly killed by a giant snake - saved by a combination of credibility-defying coincidences, two more students are nearly killed by giant spiders bred by the school's zoology teacher - saved by the mother of all coincedences. Several students are nearly killed by an insane murderer (and several more by Sirius Black) - all saved just because. What "tight security" and "most competent magic users in the country" the OP was talking of again?
    • The events of the second book, death-defying coincidences notwithstanding, were due to one of the darkest and most deadly forms of magic being purposefully sent into the school from outside - a Horcrux made by Voldemort himself, in the form of Tom Riddle's diary. No one could've possibly expected it to happen - not even the guy who DID it knew what the diary really was - and if anyone tries to go after the school for it, Harry brings Dobby in, has him testify to the fact that Lucius planned on sending the diary into the school as a means of killing of the Muggle-borns. If a shooting occurrs at a school, you don't go and close the school for not having the best security - the school updates its security on its own, and the perpetrator is the one who's punished.
    • Well, that's the point, they don't update their security. It's not until book 6 that they even begin to check students for dark artifacts (and even then, they task Filch with it, says it all about the seriousness of their intentions), they never bother with the anti-polyjuice wards at all, and the faculty (read: DD) makes one horrible student-endangering decision after another.
    • The OP isn't talking about security during the series; of /course/ Hogwarts needs some greater security measures at that point! I'm talking about /before/ Voldemort starts his reunion tour- no Dark Lord, very few Death Eaters, very few threats on the lives of wizarding school children.
    • Voldemort tried to infiltrate the school as early as the first book, being carried in on the back of a teacher's head - Snape knew that Quirrell was trying to steal the stone, but he didn't know that Voldemort was right there with him the whole time. The second book's plot was due to the folly of Lucius Malfoy, sending a Horcrux into the school all for the sake of getting Arthur Weasley fired from his job. In the third book, steps are taken to ensure the school is protected from Sirius Black, who managed to get in anyway thanks to the help he received from Crookshanks.
    • None of the students were every harmed during the events of book 3. People just assumed Black was a mass killer.
    • It's more than them just assuming he was a killer - he'd been convicted (albeit without a trial) and imprisoned for thirteen years, and Hogwarts was his first target once he'd escaped. And he wasn't exactly prudent about his attempts to break into the school, one of which ended in him being discovered hovering over a student's bed with a knife in his hand.

     Title change 
  • I'm sure this has been explained somewhere, but I was wondering whether someone would humor me by detailing the facts behind the change from "Philosopher" to "Sorcerer"? Like, when it happened, where, and why? All I really know for sure is that "Philosopher" (I think...) came first, while the film I always watched as a kid used "Sorcerer" instead, but now, it feels sort of weird whenever I have to refer to the book using the former term. Was there any version printed under the name "Sorcerer's Stone," or was that just for the film?
    • I think it was done for the American edition because they felt readers in the US wouldn't understand the term "philosopher's stone", and be turned off (Presumably British people are more familiar with this/easygoing? I don't know).
    • Basically, Viewers Are Morons and appealing to stupidity. "Philosopher" sounded too difficult for a kid's book, not enough Americans would have known about the philosopher's stone (as a mythological object), and "Sorcerer" just sounds cooler than "philosopher" because philosophers are supposed to be just stuffy old men who read books and stuff.
    • ^ Did you write that based on what you think, or what you think the people who translated it think? The way it's put down makes it sound like you're calling Americans stupid, moronic idiots because we supposedly don't know what a philosopher's stone is. I hope that's not what you meant by it, and that you were just stating your guess as to their opinion, because it's an incredibly rude and insensitive thing to say otherwise.
    • ^ the OP asked for the reason for the change, and that was the reason. Whether or not you feel it was correct or justified isn't my problem. I didn't change it.
      • I'm questioning the use of terms like "moron" and "appealing to stupidity." The way it's worded makes it sound as though the person writing it thinks of Americans (American children) as stupid morons who have to be talked down to. It's written like a personal opinion, not something the translators thought when they changed the title, and I (the OP) find it offensive.
    • Why is it that British gets snippy over the American name and yet no one gives a shit about the French name which leaves out it's about a mythical stone? I mean literally the French version is called "The School of Wizards" "Harry Potter and L'Ecole des Sorciers"
    • Sorry about that...I'm American, so I was just questioning the American version's title. Maybe when it was released in France, they didn't know it would become a series with several installments, so they just chose to focus the title on the "magic school" part?

     Where was Luna? 
  • During the school sorting, the book says that Neville Longbottom ran off to the Gryffindor table without taking off the Sorting Hat, and that he had to bring it back and give it to "MacDougal, Morag." Shouldn't Luna Lovegood have been sorted in between them?
    • Luna was a year younger than Neville, Harry, etc. She wouldn't have started Hogwarts until Book 2.

     King's Cross 
  • If wizarding families go through the Muggle part of King's Cross to get to Platform Nine and Three Quarters (I mean, I can't imagine why the Weasleys, for example, would spend hours in the car if they could Floo, Side-Along Apparate, or Portkey their way directly to the platform, nor does it make sense that anyone would risk being seen passing through the ticket barrier if they had a choice), how do purebloods manage to blend in? Do the Malfoys, of all people, have special Muggle clothes for each time they drop off or pick up Draco? How is it possible that that guy in Go F doesn't know dresses are for women if every parent in Britain has to dress as a Muggle at least twice a year?
    • I don't recall how old the guy in the fourth book was, but it's possible he didn't have children who would need to be taken to King's Cross. Anyway, even pure-blood families like the Malfoys probably have something that looks Muggle enough to not draw too much attention. And even if they don't, why would they really care if the Muggles point and laugh at them? They already think they're better
than them, anyway.
  • It's not a matter of elitism, it's international law upholding the Masquerade. Besides, the old guy would probably have been to Hogwarts and have been surrounded by people who have also been to Hogwarts and drop their kids off - it's a question of how wizards remain so ignorant of basic Muggle habits when a large proportion of them are exposed to Muggles at least twice a year.

     Blood transfusion 
  • If the protection over the Dursleys' house works as I think it does (that being, Harry is safe from Voldemort as long as he lives in the home of one of his mother's blood relations), why not just draw some blood from Petunia and inject it into the veins of someone else? Someone who could take better care of Harry, who might be willing to spend 11 years as a Muggle if Dumbledore still desired them to?
    • However wizards define "blood relations," I'm pretty sure they don't mean it literally. At any rate, blood transfusion does not change your DNA.
    • But if it's something deeper than blood, then how did Voldemort using Harry's blood in his resurrection help to cancel out the protection in the fourth book?

     Time flies... 
  • Harry's birthday is July 31st. Hogwarts' school term begins on September 1st. So why did Harry and Hagrid seem to go from Diagon Alley directly to King's Cross Station after buying his school supplies? Harry leaves the hut on the rock with Hagrid after meeting him, so it's not like Hagrid left and then came back later in August to take him school shopping - otherwise, where did Hagrid take him when they left the morning of his birthday? Did they stay in the Leaky Cauldron and just hang out in Diagon Alley for a whole month?
    • No, you're right. There was a whole month between Diagon Alley and King's Cross. Harry spent that month at Privet Drive. "Harry's last month with the Dursleys wasn't fun....Every night before he went to sleep, Harry ticked off another day on the piece of paper he had pinned to the wall, counting down to September the first." It was right in the chapter transition, so it's easy to miss. There's a rather amusing scene, however, where Harry awkwardly asks the Dursleys for a lift to King's Cross, they leave him at the station, and promptly drive away as quickly as possible.
    • My apologies; I knew I should've clarified. I was actually referring to the film adaption, where there wasn't any "awkward month spent with the Dursleys" shown. It cut directly from Harry learning about Voldemort in the Leaky Cauldron to Hagrid giving Harry his ticket at the station. (And Hagrid still had the stone from Gringotts in his pocket, so it isn't as if he sent Harry back to the Dursleys for the month and met him at the station later to give him the ticket.)
    • Perhaps they just cut that scene. It certainly wasn't a particularly interesting scene, especially when you consider the time constraints of film. I just assumed that Harry hung out with the Dursleys for a month, and Hagrid picked him up in September rather than the Dursleys giving him a ride.
    • Then why does Hagrid still have the stone with him? He clearly pats a hand over his pocket when he mentions that Dumbledore will be wanting to see him - if he'd gone back to Hogwarts for a month, why wouldn't he have given it to Dumbledore before then?

     Why is Harry famous? 
So, it's established that this ancient love magic is a complete mystery and only Dumbledore even has an inkling as to how it could have happened. Anyone else who stumbled into the crime scene (reminder: Dead serial killer, dead parents who have a history of fighting against said serial killer, living one-year-old) would NOT assume that: 1 - the toddler killed the powerful super-murderer, and 2 - that he did it by reflecting a spell that in the entire history of magic has never been known to be blocked. So there's no reason to believe that Harry defeated Voldemort. The only person who has the knowledge to do this, who arrived at the scene of the crime quickly enough, had reasons to investigate this deeply, is Dumbledore. How does the rest of the world suddenly know this fact the very next day? Even if Dumbledore had mentioned it to Hagrid who tends to talk while drunk, people wouldn't be celebrating out in the open due to the ramblings of a half-giant. They could have been killed. By Voldemort. The only person with enough authority for people to actually believe that Voldemort is dead, with access to the scene of the crime to confirm he's dead... is Dumbledore. In summary: There is no person in the HP universe with both the knowledge and authority, and was present at the scene of the crime to claim that Harry killed Voldemort, aside from Dumbledore. This in and of itself isn't a problem, except it completely goes against basically everything Dumbledore claims to do in all the later books (especially the end of the Order of the Phoenix): keep Harry safe, help Harry live a normal life until he has to face Voldemort again, etc. It's just painting a gigantic target on Harry's back and giving him unnecessary fame and attention, which completely prevents him from living a normal life. Summary #2: Is there any way to explain this other than "Dumbledore's a liar?"
  • 1.) Try to calm down. 2.) Hagrid tells Dumbledore that the house had been swarmed by Muggles just after he got baby Harry, so presumably news of the deaths of Lily and James would've been passed along through the Muggle world, allowing the wizards, who probably knew that the Potters were being targeted by Voldemort, to put the pieces together about what actually happened. 3.) Even if he was the sole reason everyone found out, Dumbledore has good reason not to let slip how Harry had actually survived, since doing so would involve revealing the truth about the blood protection, which might hint toward Harry being hidden away with his blood relatives, which would attract unwanted magical attention to his life there. He probably didn't tell everyone that "Harry killed Voldemort," just that "Voldemort succeeded in killing Lily and James, but something (that he knew, but no one else had to) had stopped him from killing Harry, and had instead led to his downfall." Everyone putting the fame for this on Harry is supposed to be seen as a little questionable, because no one but Dumbledore knows why he was able to survive - they all just assume it's because there's something inherently special about him.
    • Are you implying DD kept Harry's placement completely secret? How? He's a celebrity now, there's no way everybody wouldn't be interested about him. Also, people he should be wary of, like Lucius Malfoy, are high enough in the position of power that they will learn anyway. And no, there was no reason to mention the blood protection. Just tell more or less the truth - Potters somehow took V down at the cost of their lives - what's wrong with that?
    • Because everyone in the wizarding community knows how Avada Kadevra works, and that it wouldn't be possible for Lily or James to have managed to kill Voldemort and then end up dead themselves, especially when they were both found in separate parts of the house. (And it was obvious that whatever had gone down had taken place in the nursery.) Trying to lead people on with a hard-to-believe story about Voldemort being killed by one of two dead people would be hard for many to swallow, and might lead to suspicions that Voldemort hadn't actually been defeated.
    • In short: Harry is famous because everyone knows him as "The Boy Who Lived," not specifically "The Boy Who Killed Our Greatest Enemy." It was him who Voldemort had been after, he was the only one who emerged from the attack alive, leaving half of a house destroyed in his wake, and no one knew how he'd done it. That's precisely why he's so famous.

     Stonewall High school uniform 
  • Harry states that Petunia is dyeing some of Dudley old things grey for his new school uniform. But isn't stonewall a public school? Why would they have a uniform?
    • In Europe a lot of public schools have uniforms.

     How the hell did an eleven year old impersonate the Bloody Baron? 
  • Towards the end of the book, Harry scares off Peeves by impersonating the Bloody Baron. How? The Bloody Baron is a full grown adult who is seen as incredibly intimidating, and if he managed to be so while still having such an incredibly high pitched voice that a child could impersonate it, surely that would have been mentioned at some point? How did Peeves fall for this?
    • It seems to be implied that the Bloody Baron doesn't speak, so Peeves hasn't heard what he sounds like. Harry makes his voice rasping and doesn't let Peeves see him.
    • No, he speaks, just not on-screen, like Crabbe and Goyle before the 7th book. Nearly Headless Nick mentions talking to him.
    • Okay, then perhaps he hadn't to Peeves. Or he was too scared to think clearly when Harry impersonated the Bloody Baron.