Headscratchers: Harry Potter Other
Harry Potter headscratchers that don't fit anywhere else. For a specific book, please go to its specific page:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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Dumbledore and the Dursleys
- So, forgive me if this was asked before but... As cinemaSins said (paraphrased), why the fuck didn't Dumbledore do anything about the Dursley's treatment of Harry ? If the goal was for harry to not get a big ego and if Harry had to be in his aunt's home, why didn't dumbledore just said "Oh, by the way, I'll come and check from time to time how he is doing." I mean, even when a wizard explosed half of their living room (tome 4), they still weren't all "They'll come back we have to be nice with Harry.". And, frankly, Dumbledore did know what was going on. So he permitted abuse for 11 years just so that Harry wouldn't be full of himself. So, why ?
- Oh, Harry didn't have to be in his aunt's home. Just in the home of a blood relative of his mother. Like his cousin Dudley. So even if Dumbledore didn't look in on Harry every couple of weeks or whatever, when they realized how bad the situation was, why not remove Harry AND Dudley from the house and find them a decent foster home together?
- I'm pretty sure the good guys would balk at kidnapping (can you justify stealing a child solely to save him from being spoiled?). Also, "blood relative" may be shorthand for "relative who is an adult" (i.e. at least 17), espeically considering that it's all about parental sacrifice. A better solution would indeed have been to have someone check in on Harry from time to time. Or in a Doyalist approach, Rowling could have made the Dursleys a lot less grotesque. Their abuse doesn't advance the plot much (hiding the school letters isn't quite abuse; it could be re-framed as having his best interests at heart because they think the wizarding world is a major threat to Harry, and in part they'd be right). An exception is when they lock Harry in his room and he's saved by the Weasleys, but they could have picked him up anyway without his being actually imprisoned.
- First of all, considering that when Dumbledore calls out the Dursleys for their abuse of Harry, he specifically mentions something to the effect of "but at least you didn't treat him as badly as you did your own son," it's hard to call it a kidnapping if it's removing Harry AND Dursley to a save them from an abusive situation. Second of all, this is a magical community that thinks nothing of whipping out memory charms, Confunding Muggle officials for their own personal convenience, and generally using their magic to get away with whatever they like, I fail to see why they would draw the line at kidnapping.
- As already seen, wizards put a lot of faith in the bonds of blood. They are also really backwards and probably remember times when it was not uncommon for kids to die in the first few years of their lives. Most likely, as far as they see it Potter is with his blood kin, whatever happens to him he is not dying, and thus there's no need to do anything about some discipline or something. And as for Dumbledore himself not checking, honestly ... that guy is more of a plot device than a character and the abuse or mistreatment or however you'd call it wouldn't be so noticeable had he actually visited, so there's your reason.
- Also, to quote another page, why didn't he just said "here, take this gold and say it's because i'm an old friend of the Potters. This goes with the drawback that i can and will make your furnitures want to kill you if the boy is mistreated.
Wizards and Muggles
- Am I the only on who was bothered by the wizards' views of muggles and the Muggle world? From the book, it seems that most wizards are, at best, indifferent and ignorant of the Muggle world and, at worst, totally bigoted. In fact, the usual wizard view of Muggles seems to be a mixture of indifference and ignorance of the Muggle world and condescending attitudes. Even Muggle-borns seem to have little respect for Muggles. For example, Hermione temporarily erases her parents' memories and, while she seems genuinely upset about it, seems to have done it without their consent nor without considering the ethical problems with her actions. Now, I can understand not wanting Muggles to know about the wizarding world and that the Muggle-world must be awfully boring for the average wizard, but they generally seem to have absolutely zero interest in Muggle public affairs, technology, or culture. Most cultures in real life are somewhat insular, but not like this. Again, what bugged me was that, although there were few outright bigots (all of whom seemed to be pure bloods), even wizards with one or both of their parents being Muggles seem to view themselves as superior. Based on the way that Muggles were talked about in the books, you would think they were animals, sub-human. For a book with a major theme of unity, this seems pretty contradictory.
- It's quite obvious that we're supposed to be bothered by the wizarding world's ignorance and bigotry towards Muggles and the Muggle world. Arthur Weasley said it himself when he mentioned a couple of wizards enchanting public toilets to spew shit at Muggles or whatever. It seems like good fun, but it's a symptom of a much deeper, much uglier viewpoint held by some wizards. As for Hermione mind-wiping her parents, that was more of a "desperate times, desperate measures" kind of situation. Hermione wanted to keep her parents safe from the Death Eaters, who hate Muggles and would not be above killing them for shits and giggles, especially if they knew they could use it to get to one of Harry Potter's best friends, so she did the only thing she could think of to keep them absolutely safe. Call it unethical if you want, but it was the best solution she could think of at the time, and she wasn't exactly happy that she had to do it.
- That one incident with the eccentric witch who keeps getting herself captured by witch hunters and burned with fake fire is pretty telling about how some magical folk regard Muggles and their problems, even if it is one crazy person. One wonders how many Deathe Eater murders were covered up by The Troubles...
- That said, it's understandable just why witches and wizards would be so insular. The history of Muggle/magic interaction is a long line of "Muggles flip out and try to murder all the witches they find." Even if we were to discount all of the past history, there's a ton of reasonable fear wizards could have about Muggles. Their powers are ripe for exploitation, but Muggles would likely be utterly terrified if they knew that a minority of the population had literal magic powers and could cause serious harm or death with a small amount of will by the time they hit puberty. Then there's the Muggles who would be jealous or downright hateful of their lack of magical talent (look at how moody Squibs can be living among magical folk without powers), and I can guarantee that it would be less than a year before stories come out of gruesome murders where psychotic Muggles consume wizard organs or inject magic blood to try and gain power. Imagine all of the existing racism and genocide when people are no different other than minor physical differences, and think about how it'll be when a minority could actually be dangerous to the majority.
- I agree that the wizards' views of Muggles were very bad. However, I disagree that the Muggle-borns shared those hatreds. Even Harry himself understood that the Dursleys were just a poor representation of Muggles. Part of this was the complete ignorance of Muggle culture, which was terrible. Muggle Studies should have been mandatory for all non-Muggle-born students and they should teach the cultures, technologies, etc. In Hermione's case, I don't think she modified her parents' memories without diwscussing it with them. I take serious umbrage (no pun intended with either word) with the movie making it seem as if she did it without their knowledge. After all, Hermione would have had to remove all traces of her own life from their home before modifying their memories. That would take a family effort.
- James and Lily Potter are killed, Sirius goes to prison, and Pettigrew gets away with murder but is thought to be blown up. On October 31st. Harry knows all this. Why is it that he never mentioned to think about them on this day, instead fussing about missing the Halloween feast, and when he actually manages to go, having a grand old time at it? Even if he was a baby, it stands to reason that a generally compassionate and sometimes annoyingly broody character would at least think about his dead parents on the day they died, and not be exactly cheery about it. Most people remember their loved ones on the day they died, rather than their biggest worry being missing a feast or not.
- For that matter, other anniversaries, important dates, and birthdays seem to be completely passed over unless they're relevant to the plot. Harry's birthday is the only consistent one we see mentioned; Hermione's birthday is rarely mentioned, and Ron's only is when it's relevant. Like when bad stuff happens to him on it.
- This always, always bugged me, that Ron and Hermione's birthdays are barely mentioned. Even something in passing would have been nice.
- Isn't it stated somewhere that Hermione's birthday is in early September, and therefore usually before Harry and Ron meet up with her? I'm sure her birthdays have been mentioned a couple of times. With regards to Ron's birthday: they're at boarding school, so it's not like they go out and celebrate. Would a paragraph saying "Happy birthday Ron, here's your present" really have made such a massive difference?
- Hermione's birthday is in late September according to Word of God, but considering they all start school Sept 1 each year, they're all clearly at school. (OTOH, it makes you realized that her first year, she had no friends for her 12th birthday.) The books generally skip right over her birthday, from 'everyone shows up at school' to 'it's Halloween, time for something to happen'. Hermione's birthday is always before the main plot starts, so it's not like they're distracted. No Chamber of Secrets yet, Sirius Black yet isn't sneaking into the school, Harry isn't in the Tri-Wiz yet, Harry's not yet banned from Quidditch, Ron's not yet dating Lavender...frankly, as things seem to go from reasonable to bad each year, you'd think Hermione's birthday would be a bit of normalcy at the start of the school year.
- The worst of it is CoS-8. On Halloween, the trio politely attend Sir Nicholas's Deathday party, full of ghosts and comical gruesomeness — and it's also his parents' Deathday.
- Maybe he didn't remember exactly which night Hagrid had said it had been (he was getting a lot of new info then), and didn't feel like asking anyone later.
- Regarding Harry's birthday, his parents' deathday, and holidays: The Dursleys hardly acknowledged Harry's birthday and holidays, so he's used to ignoring them; I wouldn't be surprised if they never told him the exact date of his parents' "car accident" and because of that there's no emotional connection between the two. As for other people's birthdays, Harry probably didn't (couldn't?) have many friends before Hogwarts, so he's not used to that, either. In the larger narrative of the series, it could be that A) they weren't mentioned because it didn't add to the plot (from The Hobbit, paraphrased: safe and peaceful rarely makes for good stories) and B) later on they couldn't have had time to celebrate them anyway.
- And despite the importance of his parents and their deaths, Harry didn't really know them. They died when he was an infant, so he has to learn about his parents through pictures and anecdotes. He still obviously wishes they were here, but their loss was hardly devastating to his psyche. My grandparents died about 10 years ago, but I don't think of the date of their death every time I reach the end of May even though they were with me daily until I was about 10. That's normal for a lot of people unless the death was especially traumatic. Harry musing on the day of his parents' death instead of something more relevant would actually be highly unusual.
- The fact that Harry isn't too aware of the anniversary is a good point. However that only leads this troper to wonder why there's isn't a wizard wide holiday celebrating the day. Or at least some kind of memorial acknowledgement. Is a pagan festival whose meaning have been completely forgotten really more important than the day the biggest threat to peace in the world was (seemingly) destroyed forever?
- The first two or three anniversaries probably did rate some commemorative celebrations, and maybe year ten for its decade-of-peace significance. Before too long it would've dwindled in importance, however, the more so when you consider there were still several years of rounding up surviving Death Eaters to go after Voldemort went down. How long did Real Life people continue to celebrate the day Hitler shot himself, as opposed to the day WWII actually ended? Plus, there've been a lot of scary Dark wizards over the centuries; if the fall of each and every one rated its own day of partying, the wizarding world would seldom have the chance to take down all the bunting and balloons.
- If Galleons are made of pure gold, one Galleon equals GBL 5 (at least that's what JKR says) and gold has the same value in the wizarding and the Muggle world, then a Galleon would have to be really tiny. That is: Weighing less than one fifth of a gram.
- One theory is that over time, the goblins secretly changed Galleons and left only that one fifth of a gram of gold in the new Galleons and standardized the price with Muggle money and the price of gold.
- Possible, although most wizards wouldn't really like that. Another possibility is that the one Galleon / five pounds conversion is one of JKR's "oh dear, maths" moments and that the pound value of wizarding money should be much higher. There is a scene in Chamber of Secrets where Harry sees the Weasleys vault at Gringotts, which is almost empty and contains only a single Galleon and a small pile of Sickles. The Weasleys are poor, but not that poor.
- There are a lot of children being supported by only one paycheck. I don't think it's that odd that the Weasleys, while not being destitute, don't have the extra money to put away in their vault all that often. That just means that they use up nearly all of Arthur's paycheck each month.
- Perhaps, over time, wizards and goblins accumulated most of the world's gold, devaluing it in their communities.
- My pet theory is that the wizards fixed the exchange rate at some point in the medieval period (before the Spanish devalued gold throughout Europe by bringing in huge amounts of plundered gold from South America), when five avoirdupois pounds of sterling silver to a gold coin the size of a Galleon was a high, but reasonable, exchange rate, and that the wizards, in their general bigoted conservatism, haven't bothered to adjust the exchange rate. There's probably a canon way to shoot that down, but it's my theory and I'm rolling with it.
- Truth in Television: U.S. pennies are so worthless that they're not actually worth the metal they are made from, which is why it's now illegal to melt down pennies for profit.
- They weren't always like that, though. And a lot of people are calling for their removal these days. It's acceptable to have an extremely low-denomination coin be worth less than the metal it is printed on, but the highest denomination coins? When there are no bills of higher worth to take up the slack? That's the stuff failed currencies are made out of.
- Another theory is that goblins have figured out how to make coins (or other metal objects) that weigh virtually nothing. That way, if someone tries to sell them as gold to get some Muggle money, they wouldn't get anything for them because (to the immense confusion of all Muggles involved) a heaping sack of gold coins wouldn't even tip the scale. This isn't much of a stretch when you consider that goblins have figured out how to make things indestructible.
- The idea that a Galleon is worth L5 is ludicrous in any case. Even at 1992 prices, can you imagine doing all your shopping with a large number of low-valued gold coins?
- Where is it canon that Galleons are pure gold?
- Another thing to consider is that in the wizarding world, gold can be manufactured. Alchemy is a valid profession, and it's unlikely that the Philosopher's Stone is the only means that wizards have of turning metal into gold. Therefore, the value of gold is decreased.
- Here's a little something: being an insular society in which gold is stored rather than working for itself via loans, and a society in which most things are produced the same way by the same people or their families since pretty much forever, they have nil or nigh-nil inflation, and had it for the past few hundred or more years too. Imagine a few hundred years' worth of no inflation and try to compare prices with what we have. So the rate of exchange doesn't truly matter because at most it just makes it exploitable ... that is, if you dare to try and cross the goblins, and that one galleon is worth more in the wizarding world than the 5 pounds it can be exchanged to are worth in the Muggle world. A few times more at the very least, and I wouldn't be surprised if the difference was even higher.
Gunny as a Sue
- Why does everyone treat Ginny as a Mary Sue? If you think about it, the vast majority of the Weasleys have Sue-ish factors. Bill is described as handsome, cool, and a past Head Boy, Charlie works with dragons, Percy is smart, EVERYONE loves Fred and George, and Ron... um... you get the idea.
- Several factors. First and most obviously, Harry/Hermione shippers hate her for ruining their ship. Secondly, in the fifth book, she rather suddenly went from "background Shrinking Violet character" to "hey, I'm an Action Girl now and I'm cool". Sure, the hints were there all along (standing up for Harry in Flourish and Blotts in Chamber, etc.) and she couldn't be the cute little sister with the big crush forever, but the transition seemed really abrupt and it did come after the Great Three-Year Gap between books four and five. (For the record, I don't think she's a Mary Sue, but I do think Rowling could have handled her character better than she did.)
- This troper would be willing to bet that most people fall under the second category, even Harry/Hermione shippers. But that's part of Rowling's staggering inability to write female characters in the latter books: The poor weak women can't survive without their men, the stickler for the rules is okay with cheating, Harry and Ron are still so immature that this Troper doesn't see how any self-respecting girl/woman in the series could be attracted to either of them, etc.
- Where on Earth does Harry Potter depict "poor weak women"? Women are regularly depicted as equal to or superior to the men. If you mean relationships, the vast majority of relationship drama takes place among a few characters, the majority of which is simply the three protagonists and their high school romances.
- Okay, something that people really need to keep reminding themselves of while reading the series: These characters are TEENAGERS. They're not supposed to act like Mature Adults; they're supposed to be teenagers in a high-stress, high-pressure situation, and they're going to act like teenagers in a high-stress, high-pressure situation. Especially when it comes to issues of the heart. To be honest, it's quite refreshing to read books in which teens act like teens. (Specifically to the above poster: Why Ginny and Hermione are attracted to guys like Harry and Ron is a good question. A similar question that crops up only all the time in Real Life is - why does anyone with a functioning brain fall for someone who insults them, beats them, or uses them for sex? The easiest answer is that people will do things for love [or what they think is love] that they wouldn't do for any other reason.)
- Not having them act like fully grown adults is fine. Having them act completely opposite to the characters we've seen so far is not. Also, that explanation completely goes against what we saw in the epilogue. Relationships based on such unhealthy foundations (jealousy, laziness, etc) are probably not going to last 20 years without one of the parties ending up dead.
- Because no one ever changes over the course of twenty years or anything...
- It's the not being shown the change that is annoying. Why did they change, what happened to cause it, how did affect them etc etc etc.. No, we just got a *bang" they're different now"...
- Exactly. A lot of people seem to forget that each book chronicles an entire year of Harry's life. If book characters can fall irrevocably in love with someone at first sight, then how come Harry can't develop a crush on a girl over the course of seven months or so? And Harry didn't hang around Ginny all the time, so her character development HAD to take place offscreen. It's mentioned that she has long chats with Hermione about Harry, and that her advice was to, effectively, become an Action Girl and get over him... which she does. It seems abrupt, yeah, but it's a good reflection of real life in that sometimes people we know change without us quite realising it.
- Ginny actually didn't turn suddenly into an action girl. She wasn't in Quidditch until almost half of the fifth book was finished (and given that at least 4 of her brothers were in the Quidditch team at some time, it was bound to happen), and Harry actually preferred someone other than Ginny (along with Neville and Luna) to join them in the DoM.
- It would have been nice if it was Lampshaded in-book.
- Ginny didn't change at all, apart from getting over her tongue-tiedness around Harry. In the second book, Ron says, "You don't know how strange it is for her to be this quiet". She was never a Shrinking Violet, she was always an Action Girl.
- "She was never a Shrinking Violet, she was always an Action Girl" No, all that example proves is that she had a gob on her that Harry never saw.
- Exactly, to say that line proves she was always an Action Girl is a stretch. It might merely mean that she was more talkative, or more of an outgoing Genki Girl. And even then, that's probably still a stretch, as the aforementioned book stated that Ginny was emotionally vulnerable, having her own fears, insecurities and weaknesses, which allowed Riddle's diary to take control of her.
Bank security and lending
- The goblin banks have customers store their money in what should be safety deposit boxes/rooms, which 1) forces the customers to ride through in the mine carts to withdraw or deposit money instead of doing it with a teller, and 2) makes it rather hard for the goblins to lend out the deposited money, one of the primary functions of a bank. I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons for the repeated goblin rebellions is that the wizards force them to do banking in such a stupid manner.
- It is entirely possible that the bank has safety deposit boxes as well as normal deposits. We just don't see the normal deposits. 2/3 of the vaults we have things that make perfect sense for them to be safety deposit boxes; the Lestranges' have a horcrux, and there was that other one with the Philosopher's Stone. The only one that raises eyebrows is the Potter vault. That one is a bit of a mystery. Maybe the Potters just wanted a vault for the novelty of it?
- No, the Weasley family keeps their money as a pile of coins in a vault as well: in one of the books (the second one?) Harry rides in the mine-cart along with Molly and sees her taking some coins out of a vault.
- The key here is the bank offers very tight security. The deeper the vault, the more protections are on it. Those that just want a place to store their money are probably few and far between, what with how many magical ways there are to break into a normal vault.
- I put a guess a long time ago on the WMG page that the vaults are only had by very established families, such as the Blacks and Lestranges, and the ancestors of James Potter and Molly Weasley (nee Prewett). It's quite possible that the families have a single secure vault and individual members can have sort of checquing accounts on the side, like how Sirius was able to mail-order Harry's Firebolt despite being a wanted criminal and the only Black alive (Goblins just don't care about human politics that don't affect them as long as the mystical thumbprint is correct), that Harry was too young for a personal account, and that the Weasleys didn't want the hassle of validating a personal checque at every stop on Diagon Alley (especially because physical money is often a better reminder of how much you have left in a budget than a number on a page, when you're not dealing with particularly large numbers).
- Two theories:
- We don't really see how Gringotts works, aside from the vault system, their grave-robbing expeditions, and the fact that they exchange muggle money into wizarding currency. It is entirely possible that they have a system of Bank drafts you can use to pay, credits, investments, and the like. Still, it makes absolutely no sense to put their customers' money into individual vaults where it cannot be invested by the bank, used to hand out credits, etc. But then, it may be possible that the wizarding world does not do these kind of things and the goblins make most of their money by renting out secure vaults.
- It is much more magical for Harry to take a wild cart ride, have a goblin open a huge vault door, and find a pile of gold than, let's say, walking up to the counter and getting an account statement that says "You own xx,xxx.yy Galleons". (You might also say that the whole thing is Awesome, but Impractical ;-) )
- I had the following rant on the Philosopher's Stone page before it got deleted: "Gringotts bugs this troper, because it behaves nothing like a real bank does. In a real bank, most people have accounts, where they store their money. This is a loan to the bank, which invests their money in businesses (such as loans to home buyers) to make profit for itself. In exchange, the bank offers people a relatively safe place to keep their savings, give them interests, and gives them convenience (several bank locations, ATM's, online payments, etc...). It is important to note the reason they can do the latter is because the bank doesn't keep your original money; a bank account is just information, a number saying how much they owe you, and when you withdraw money they simply make that number smaller. Transferring information is much easier than transferring physical items. There ARE safe deposit boxes, which you pay to maintain and which keep your valuables in an specific and safe location, but the overwhelming majority of the bank's costumers deal with them in the above basis. However, Gringotts seems to be nothing but a collection of safe deposit boxes. Every wizard doing business with them has a vault, and can store whatever they please there. Whatever they store remains there; the galleons Harry sees when he arrives are the very same ones his parents deposited years ago, and other objects of value (such as the Philosopher's stone) can be stored in vaults. It is never stated how the bank earns its money or what profit it gains from providing this service to wizards, but it can be assumed they are paid for it (it's interesting to note the Potters' vault remained in use, but there are several explanations; maybe payments are or can be done several decades in advance, maybe the goblins take gold from the vaults at regular intervals, or maybe Dumbledore or some other person made the payments before Harry arrived to reclaim the vault). Every time they want to access their money, they must travel to Diagon Alley and bring their key. Thus the bank offers no convenience and no interest, instead simply serving as a safe place to store goods - any goods - in exchange for a fee. In short, Gringotts is not a real bank; it is a glorified storage compartment center."
- In many parts of the world, most particularly the Islamic world, banking as we know it is illegal, and what they call banks are basically places you pay a fee to hold your money. They don't do anything like interest, compound, or simple, they don't loan money in the fashion we understand it. In fact, this is how actual banks used to act in the West before the Catholic Church's ban on collecting interest was lifted. It is a real bank - it's just not a modern Western-style bank.
- That's a stretch; most of the Islamic world has normal modern banks, since they're sort of necessary for a modern economy. The rise of specifically Islamic banking is actually a fairly recent phenomenon, and in practice, while they don't pay or charge compound interest per se, they have similar mechanisms to reward people for depositing money with them (in the form of periodic gifts when the bank is profitable), and charging for loans — for instance, a home loan takes the form of the bank purchasing the house while contracting with the buyer to sell it to them via periodic payments that include a mutually agreed-upon profit for the bank. The time value of money is too important a concept for banks not to charge for loans or reward savings, even if they don't do it directly by means of compound interest.
- For a modern economy, yes. The wizarding world doesn't operate on modern economics: it's a very small society, insulted from the rest of the world, and is highly traditionalist to the point of being decades or centuries behind the times on certain aspects of technology and society (thanks to both bigotry against Muggles and magic meaning less need to advance technologically). The vast majority of purchases seem to be made with hard cash or exchange of valuables, and the economy of magical Britain has little to no interaction with any economies other than the (equally small or even tinier) economies of other magical communities worldwide.
- Originally, when the Templars came up with the concept of a bank, the entire point was to keep your money safe and letting you take out said money at any city in Christendom with no handing out of interest involved (at that time, the bank client that pays for the bank services); the idea of the bank as investor came much later. Obviously, magical banking probably developed from the original bankers, and seeing that everyone can come to the bank magically in a literal blink of an eye, and ditched the second purpose of the banking system.
- Who says that you have to move the money to make loans and transactions? That's why contracts were invented. When all the money that was available was big and heavy, IO Us and contracts were used to handle major transactions on a day-to-day basis, and the currency itself didn't make an appearance except at crucial points. That's how the modern gold supply tends to "move" - it changes owners, but it all sits in one location (like the New York Federal Reserve). The goblins could conceivably keep track of the transfers and move the physical gold every so often to reflect the end-of-month, end-of-quarter, or end-of-whatever balance.
- Goblin culture is not like human culture (as seen by Harry Potter and friends getting into trouble during Deathly Hallows because the Goblins see the Sword of Gryffindor as belonging to them rather than to Hogwarts.) For all we know, the way Gringotts operates makes perfect sense to the goblins, and human wizarding society sees no point in trying to force them to change the system.
- Or, perhaps, human wizarding culture did see a point to try to change them, or set up competing, less stupid banks...and six goblin rebellions later, says okay, whatever, we'll bank whatever stupid way you goblins want.
- I'm no expert, but to me it seems highly unlikely that the goblins would entrust money that has been entrusted to them to a third party. It is, however, possible that Gringott's brokers loans rather than granting them outright. Someone comes to Gringott's and says "I would like to borrow money for X". Gringott's then sets up meetings with people who may be willing to lend money to other people for similar things, appraises your collateral or evaluates your business plan when relevant, evaluates your financial standing, suggests reasonable terms and draws up relevant contracts for a fee.
- Remember, goblins think of property as the permanent possession of the manufacturer: if you receive it in trade, you're only borrowing it, you don't have the right to pass it on to anyone else. If that rule extends to minted coins, then it's likely that the goblins refrain from operating Gringotts as a lending bank because they don't have the right to hand over their customers' coins (which were already lent to their clients by the mint) to anyone else. They're just renting secure storage space.
- Sounds just like a safe-deposit box to me. People put stuff in the safe-deposit boxes and the bank makes money some other way (or by charging on a per-use basis).
- How come that in a series that is credited with re-popularizing reading among the youth, no one ever reads? I mean, they read a lot of textbooks, of course, but I don't recall a mention of a single novel. The only prominent work of fiction is the Tales of Beedle the Bard in the last book (and it's only important because of the clues in it). And no other kind of fiction either: no theatre, no movies, no TV (they have radio, so why not). What do these people do in their free time, apart from sports and games?
- This is most likely another call back to the British boarding school books that Harry Potter is (somewhat) based on. TV, Radio, and (to a lesser extent) reading aren't very popular.
- It could be argued that Lockhart's books are more recreational literature than textbooks.
- "Gilderoy Lockhart and the Wailing Werewolf of Wall". "Gilderoy Lockhart and the Bawling Banshee of Bath". "Gilderoy Lockhart and the Hissing Herepton of Hogsmeade".
- Still, they're purported to be nonfiction.
- If you could do magic and entertain yourself any way you wanted, would you really be reading or watching tv? Also, we only see most of the wizards in school, when they're swamped with homework. We only see Harry in the summer, and judging from the Dursleys, I doubt there are any recreational books in the house. We see Ron and Hermione too, but they're mostly talking, playing Quidditch, and doing housework when we see them with time off. Also, I'm sure Hermione reads tons of fiction when she gets the chance.
- "If you could do magic and entertain yourself any way you wanted, would you really be reading or watching tv?" Uh, yeah. I mean, I have access to a computer, right, so why do bother buying books when I could just write one myself? Well, I'm not the world's best storyteller (nor, I imagine, are most people), so I pay people that are good at it to tell me a story.
- Writing can be personally fulfilling, but it is generally considered "work", not entertainment. There are people in the real world who never read books because they're glued to the tv. Surely there must be people in the Wizarding World who never read books because they prefer to screw around with magic spells.
- If wizards could entertain themselves solely by doing magic, why would they need sports and games? And if Harry wanted to read books, he could buy them in the wizarding world - he has enough money for it. "they're mostly talking, playing Quidditch, and doing housework when we see them with time off" - well, that's what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are a lot of kids who don't read in their free time. But one would think Rowling wouldn't encourage this by portraying her heroes as such people. (By the way, I recall another passing mention of fiction, a comic book in Ron's room "The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle" in book 2. But that's all.)
- This troper would just like to point out that the sports they play ARE magic. You don't notice them playing a good ol' game of football now, do you?
- Magic to them is electronics to us. We have the internet, videogames, ipods, phones, etc. Why would we need sports when we can literally do whatever we want in digital worlds?
- And yet people still do sports in their free time. Just the fact that there are other options does not change the popularity of most pastimes.
- "Recreational reading" =/= "Novels and comic books". There are lots of people who love reading both fiction and non-fiction but prefer the latter, usually because they enjoy learning. Also, what do you mean, "no one ever reads"?! Snape has that really impressive library in his house just so he can show it off at the bitchin' parties he throws?note Tom Riddle was reading when Dumbledore met him at the orphanage, Ron buys Harry a book for Christmas one year and Harry's shown reading it at least once, Hermione's always got her nose in a book, and so has Dumbledore. And McGonagall, once she's done picking them up, I'm sure.
- There's nothing saying that they never read. True, it's never mentioned that they do, but it's also not explicitly said that they don't. It's entirely possible that Harry spends his summers reading novels. It's just not mentioned because it's not important to the plot. It's the same as people complaining that nobody on Friends ever works. Well of course they work, it's just not shown because it's (usually) irrelevant to the plot. Remember that only bits and pieces of what's going on are actually detailed in the books. The author leaves out lots of mundane details of the day that aren't important to the story. This could very well be the case for recreational reading in Harry Potter.
- It also barely ever mentions people going to the bathroom or bathing/showering, but are we expected to believe they were holding it in and never washing for seven years? Things that aren't relevant to the plot tend to not be mentioned.
- This. What we be the purpose of writing "And then Harry lay on his bed and read a good book for a few hours"? That's incredibly boring to read, and doesn't advance the plot or provide the reader with any sort of enjoyment. And people are mentioned reading recreationally. Hermione gets books out of the library "for a bit of light reading", and just because they're history books and therefore educational doesn't mean they aren't recreational.
- The point here is that the Harry Potter series supposedly got an entire generation back into reading, and yet the title character isn't into reading. The 'Friends' analogy is useless, because that's an adult show that isn't hailed as being something that sends a good message to kids. And it's not that hard to sneak in a line that tells us Harry has been reading. "Exhausted, Harry grabbed The Great Misadventure of X and Y and read some of the entertaining book before going to sleep". "The situation Harry was in was rather odd, and it reminded him of something that had happened in the book X and Y's Clash of Minds". "It was incredibly boring, and at that moment Harry wished he were somewhere comfortable reading the The Extraordinary Escapades of X".
- If anything, that seems to enforce the prior point of talking about reading books being boring. Yes, it might have been nice to do once, but for me, constantly referencing other books would tend to ruin the tone the books are painting. He was shown reading Qudditch through the Ages in the first book, but had it confiscated, and that was I believe the last time we saw him reading for his own enjoyment outside of the Half-Blood Prince's book.
- Why would people be reading fiction, exactly, when there are real life fantasy creatures and warriors having adventures like the ones Gilderoy Lockhart Obliviated. It would be far more awesome to read about adventures that really happened than to read about something some random schmuck thought up.
- The same reason People read Tom Clancy novels in Real Life, the fact that similar things actually happen doesn't make it any less entertaining.
- I wouldn't call Quidditch Throughout the Ages the most necessary book. And if I'm not mistaken, Harry does mention that he'd rather be reading it than something else (I can't rember what right now; sorry). Also, doesn't Ron give Harry a book called "12 failproof ways to charm a Witch"? (Again might not be the exact wording.)
- The Quidditch book and Ron's book don't count, because they're nonfiction. A lot of nonfiction books are mentioned; when I asked the original question, I was talking about novels.
- Why are you discounting anything that's isn't fictional? I know your original question was worded as them not reading fiction, but the way you worded it you act as if getting enjoyment out of reading nonfiction doesn't matter or count or something. The characters are shown to read recreationally, why should the fact that they're reading nonfiction mean that it doesn't matter as much as fiction?
- Well, it's not just that characters don't read, but that the wizarding world doesn't seem to have any fiction aside from the Tales of Beedle the Bard. For that matter, Hogwarts teaches nothing about culture: no literature class, no music class, no visual arts class. Harry and Hermione never heard of the tales after spending years in the wizarding world, even though they're as popular for wizards as Grimm's fairy tales for us.
- Maybe it's a case of Truth in Television? I love reading, I could (and I do sometimes) spend my whole day reading. However, not during the school/college terms, because I had/have a lot of reading to do there anyways, and reading a book for my pleasure feels like procrastinating.
- If the characters think a book is way more interesting than the plot they are in, why am I not reading that book instead?
- Law of Conservation of Detail. The characters aren't depicted reading for pleasure constantly because it's not important to the plot or world building. A few mentions are made, but whining that they "don't count because it's not a fiction book" or "it's not enough" is showing a massive lack of understanding of how fiction works. You don't include a lot of unnecessary details and show every hobby for every character because it gets boring and fills up a lot of pages with useless content. It's the same as wondering why no character ever bathes because you never see them taking a shower. Do you really think that anything that doesn't occur in the pages doesn't exist, no matter how obvious it should seem?
- Harry and Hermione both read non-fiction rather than novels for a very good reason: they were both raised by Muggles, so have so much still to learn about the realities of wizarding life outside of Hogwarts' walls that, when they have time to read for pleasure, they might as well read some non-fiction and thus become more informed about the world they've found themselves immersed in. Muggle novels are probably not something they can easily relate to anymore - if you think it's hard to sit through a horror movie wondering why the characters never bring a flashlight, how easy would it be for a Hogwarts student to read a detective story without wondering what's so perplexing about a Locked Room Mystery? - and the last thing they'd want to read from a wizarding library is a book from the Fiction section, in which they'd be hard-put to tell a Historical In-Joke or genuine piece of wizard pop-culture from something the author made up from scratch.
Lily and Voldemort
- It always puzzles me why Lily Potter screamed and cried and begged Voldemort to kill her "instead." Did she actually know that she was pulling a Batman Gambit, or was it a lucky break? If not, her pleas were idiotic because nothing would stop Voldemort from going ahead and killing Harry anyway. And even assuming she did know, what did she stand to lose by going Mama Bear and trying to beat Voldemort to death with a pole lamp or something?
- She was a mother pleading for the life of her child. Anyone ever hear of Sharon Tate? What happened to Lily had its parallels in real life. Sick real life.
- I dunno, her actions indicate that she must have known something about the power of a sacrifice. Otherwise, you'd think she would have tried to fight him off. By all accounts, she was a pretty accomplished witch and she might have been able to hold her ground for a bit.
- I don't recall, did she have a wand to hand? Without one, it seems like she wouldn't have many options.
- It's stated in Deathly Hallows that Lily (as well as James) was indeed wandless.
- To the OP of this: What could Lily have done? Maybe she knew she didn't have time to grab a nearby weapon and start beating Voldemort with it. That, and she probably knew it would have been futile anyway. May as well die with dignity. :/
- In this troper's opinion, it's more dignified to go out fighting than to beg.
- Well, for one, Lily's probably desperate. Besides, Voldemort DID give her the chance to survive, maybe she thought that if she allows Voldy to kill her instead, he won't kill her son?
- She's a mother who loves her son. She probably knew Voldemort wouldn't spare him, but it's not like she wasn't going to try. Besides, it really would suck to have your one year old son killed while you're still alive and didn't really do anything to try to save him.
- Honestly, I assumed from the beginning that since the term Charm was used instead of Spell, that something was up (added with how quickly everything seemed to happen concerning getting Harry out and how etc. before it was all revealed). When it came to light Lily was amazing with Charms, it made sense she was stalling for time. Now after reading the books as a mother I've changed my view that she knew about this specific charm and made damn sure she did what it took- offering herself. Worse that would happen is it failed, but she was wandless so that was nearly a given. Second worse would be both her and Harry dying, and third worse is what happened- she offered herself, and harry survived along with the spell. The thought about it being an accidentally charm is confusing to me, can someone explain?
- Also! Serves to note the theory that Snape told Lily about asking for her survival. If that happened, then she knew there was a chance that Voldemort would give her the chance to escape, leading her to enough time to learn how the spell worked and knowing that if Voldemort *did* give her the option she could deny it thus protecting Harry (because dying when attacked wouldn't have been a sacrifice. she would have died. Offering her life *anyway* knowing she would die would be the sacrifice needed)
- Do note that Voldemort was going to let her walk free but with the knowledge that her son would die, and if she fought he'd just take the offer back and kill them both. She wanted for her child to survive, so though it was a fairly stupid option, begging him was the best one she had.
House elves and laundry
- So if handing a house elf clothes sets them free, are house elves allowed to handle their master's laundry, or does that have to be entrusted to someone else? Or is there enough leeway between "give" and "wash" so as not to give credence to loopholes?
- I'm pretty sure that the laundry was handled by the wizards in the house, much to their displeasure (though I wouldn't put it past the Malfoys to hire a servant just to magically clean their laundry). I recall Dobby stating something along the lines of "They made sure not to pass me so much as a sock." So, it seems that the House Elf's master(s) could free them even unintentionally, with the mistake of giving them any form of clothing. Remember, in Chamber of Secrets, Harry tricks Lucius into freeing Dobby; obviously he wasn't actively saying or thinking, "This is to free Dobby". So, the wizard doesn't even have to know there is clothing to hand it over.
- I think that the clothes have to be physically handed to the house elves by their masters. So the family can just put the clothes in a laundry basket and then ask the house elves to wash them. Otherwise, whenever the masters ask the house elves to clean a room, they would have to go through the whole thing first to make sure there aren't any clothes not in the right place.
- Then Hermione's plot to free the elves by hiding self-knit hats in Gryffindor tower would not have worked and the elves would not have refused to clean there. All in all, the "clothes rule" does not really make sense.
- I had assumed the elves were just insulted by Hermione's tactic, so they refused to clean there. I never once thought that she had the authority or ability to accidentally free a house elf using this tactic. After all, the only reason Dobby was freed was because Lucius Malfoy dropped the diary with a sock and Dobby got it, twisting the rule to his advantage.
- I always thought that handing a house elf clothes simply gives the elf the option to leave, and they can choose to accept or reject the option; since a vast majority of the house elves we've seen are happy with their lot in life, one can probably freely hand them clothes without fear of them skipping off. In Goblet of Fire, Crouch hands Winky clothes and has to follow it up with a explicit order of dismissal. So the only people who need to be careful about clothing are those with really rebellious elves. Hermione's ploy to free the elves was probably more insulting than actually effective.
- If it only gave them the option to be freed, what's the point? Why couldn't Crouch just order her to leave if it didn't break the binding? And I still don't see why Hermione thought she COULD free the house elves even if she shoved socks into their hands. She is a student. She is not an owner or part-owner of any of the elves. Maybe the other faculty members could free elves, but I'm inclined to think that's just something the Headmaster can do.
- "Why couldn't Crouch just order her to leave if it didn't break the binding?" Tradition maybe? Logically, there's really no reason why giving clothes to a house elf should, in and of itself, set them free. They're just clothes. For that matter, there's no logical reason for house elves to eschew clothes in the first place. I therefore surmise that the house elf/clothes connection is nothing but an ancient tradition whose origins have been lost to time, not any kind of real binding magical contract or anything. Giving a house elf clothes is symbolic of setting them free.
- But there is a magical bond between a house elf and its master that has to be broken somehow for an elf to be set free. We know there's a tangible bond because Kreacher was able to get out of Voldy's cave when Regulus summoned him. Presumably a house elf's obligation to punish itself for disobeying an order is also part of the bond. I always assumed that somehow the giving of clothes somehow broke it literally as well as symbolically, otherwise how could Lucius have accidentally set Dobby free?
- I'm not sure there is much of a difference between symbolic and literal when it comes to magic. Dobby was able to interpret, inside his own head, that he had been 'given clothing' and hence was free. Other elves who did not want to be free presumable would be able to interpret being randomly handed a sock as 'Master wants me to hold his sock for him.', not 'Master has given me a sock, and freed me.'. Which is why Crouch explicitly states what he's doing with Winky, so it can't be misconstrued. Think of house elves as Literal Genies...they must follow orders, but the normal ones follow general intent and probably don't need many orders, whereas Dobby managed to twist his master's 'orders' to freedom. (And my theory is that he does the same thing later to teleport into Malfoy Manor. He was 'freed', but not explicitly 'fired' or 'banned', and thus he still has whatever teleport privileges he had earlier.)
- I also don't know whether a house elf could do laundry, though the masters could just tell them to do the laundry instead of saying take the clothes. It would seem to be a tricky thing, though. Hogwarts house elves did the laundry, but as was stated, students giving them clothes wouldn't necessarily free them, showing Hermione's ignorance. Dobby was freed by Lucius accidentally. All Lucius did was to toss Harry's sock that was wrapped around the diary and Dobby caught it.
Punishing the Dyrsleys
- Why aren't the Dursleys punished for what they did to Harry at some point? Okay, revenge isn't exactly nice, but they abused him practically the whole time he lived there. So at least some payback would not only be in order, but downright mandatory.
- You're complaining because the hero was able to show restraint and not abuse his power?
- Is it abusing one's power if the target deserves it? Being kept in a cupboard, starved, beaten by his cousin's gang... In most jurisdictions, it is a crime to neglect and/or abuse a child, yet they seem to get away scot-free.
- What exactly are you looking for here? Dudley gets a pig tail that they have to surgically remove, Vernon's sister gets blown up like a balloon and nearly floats away, Dobby pooches Vernon's big business deal, their house gets invaded by owls repeatedly, Dudley's soul nearly gets eaten by a Dementor, and they have to flee their own home and live on the run for all of Book 7. It would have been nice to have Harry throw some of their abuse back in their faces, but they did take their share of lumps. Um hello? Doesn't any realize that the entire reason Dudley got fat is "Karma" abuse to the Dursleys (for not treating Harry like a son). I wish we could see exactly what was in that letter Dumbledore left for them (Petunia especially)
- First of all, exactly how many of those are intentional on the part of any of the protagonists? For it to be payback, you have to be fully aware of what you're doing, and do it with the intent to hurt/get revenge on the other party. Otherwise it's just karma.
- Karma and payback go almost hand in hand. Even if it's unintentional, Harry would still be happy to know that the Dursleys are suffering.
- No he wouldn't. That would completely go against all the Character Development he had in the series. And at the risk of sounding preachy, I'm going to point out that in real life, hurting someone because "they deserve it" is still wrong. It just makes you a cruel person as well. Besides, why does Harry even need payback? He gets to live a life of adventure and excitement. The Dursleys are destined to live dull lives in suburbia.
- And torturing someone who was nasty to your teacher wouldn't go against said character development? That's not hurting someone solely because "they deserve it"?
- Why do people insist that Harry was serious when he said he attacked Amycus because he disrespected McGonagall? Neville explicitly told the trio that the Carrows had been actively torturing students all year. If we know anything about Harry, it's that he has a bit of a hero complex. He feels guilty for not being there when his friends needed help. Amycus should've got far worse than a quick blast of the Cruciatus Curse.
- It didn't even seem to be a full Crucio; it just hurled Amycus backwards. it didn't drop them to the floor screaming in pain. Besides, personally, if I was a wizard in a fight, I'd just scream the first spell which came to mind, and be hard pressed not to accidentally AK the enemy. Harry's thinking of Amycus torturing students, the Cruciatus Curse springs to mind, and BAM!
- Alright, I have an inverse problem - what is the deal with Dursleys? I'm trying not to see their characterisation and very existence as a terrible error, but I can't really find a good excuse (or any, for that matter). They start a bit extreme, but as part of a standard fairy-tale-like "evil stepmother" deal. This is fine. But they progressively get worse, past extreme, past over-the-top, well past ridiculous. They hate Harry with a passion that can't be explained by the fact that they consider him a freak, that they are afraid of him, and that they regard him as an unwanted burden. They really, really go out their way to abuse him. And it actually gets even more inexplicable later(!). We are given a Hand Wave that Mrs. Dursley is resentful about her sister and that Dursleys abuse Harry because of their fear and resentment for wizards. It is implied, strongly, that at one point they just try to pretend he doesn't exist as much as possible. Why, then, their downright bizarre Christmas "gifts"? It's not that they just send him crappy gifts (which they shouldn't, because they are said to want to forget Harry even exists). They send him stuff like napkins, toothpicks, and used socks. This is ridiculous and looks like an exceedingly cruel mockery and insult. It's far, far worse than giving no gift at all. So, to sum it up: their behaviour is extremely grotesque. It seems hard to find an explanation for it other than it being a childish fantasy about evil, evil step-parents, but taken to proportions that would make Cinderella wince. Given the message of the books (Muggles are not that bad, and wizards are sometimes silly in their ignorance about them, to the point where they behave stupidly just because of their aloofness and arrogance), the fact that the only Muggles we get to see are too over-the-top for even parody... it seems kind of strange, and difficult to explain. Also, no evil wizard could possibly be worse for Harry's well-being than Dursleys, the way they are shown mid-way through the series. They act positively psychotic, they could kill him in his sleep for all we know. Is there any reason or explanation for this other than Rowling being uncharacteristically Anvilicious about the "bad guys"? Nothing else in the series turns out to be THIS black-and-white.
- About the presents, I read on another JBM page that it was implied in an interview that every Christmas, Hedwig would go to the Dursleys and harass them until they gave her something to take back to Harry, even if it was something crappy like a tissue.
- Ok, hands down, that one deserves Hedwig a place on the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming section.
- Really, I think the Dursleys are only bearable because their behavior is so over-the-top, unrealistically violent. If Jo had toned them down, it would have been much less "ha-ha, stupid Dursleys" and more "HOLY FUCK! WHERE'S CHILD SERVICES WHEN YOU NEED THEM?!?!?!" We got a glimpse of toned-down (and much, much scarier) parental abuse in OotP, when Harry accidentally saw Snape's memory of his father yelling at his mother. It was horrible for the half-sentence of page time it got, simply because it happens far too often in far too many houses in the real world; why on Earth would anyone wish for two or three chapters of each book to be devoted to that? Also, notice that the older Harry gets, the less afraid of the Dursleys he is, despite the fact that they get more and more over-the-top as the series goes on. In the first two books, he's a little kid and hasn't seen some of the horror that exists outside Number 4 Privet Drive, so the Dursleys are legitimately scary. By the third book, Harry has faced down and defeated Voldemort twice, so Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia don't appear to him as much more than bags of hot air (notice this is the first book where he actually mouths off to Vernon's face?) and Dudley is a minor, if persistent, annoyance. Harry only gets less and less afraid of them from there, until Book 7, where he carries on an entire conversation with him in which he's nothing less than sarcastic and condescending the whole time. It's probably an allegory for overcoming your fears, as much as anything else in the books.
- My issue is specifically with Aunt Petunia. It's revealed in Deathly Hallows that the reason she hates the magical world is that as a kid she was jealous that she wasn't a witch and that jealousy turned into bitterness and eventual hatred over the years. Even so, don't you think that she'd be at least a little bit sad that her sister died? Just a teeny tiny bit? I can see jealousy over wizardry being a reason not to talk to someone for years, but to show such open apathy over their death feels like a severe moral event horizon.
- Unless, of course, she was hiding how she felt about her sister because of the hatred-turned-jealousy, burrowing it down inside of herself until she didn't think about it much at all. Granted, that's not really a good way to live, but...
- Or she may have reacted with far more sadness originally, but has had many years since to put her initial grief behind her, while her bitterness festered. As for her reaction to Harry turning up on the doorstep in the first place, we don't actually see Petunia's personality in that scene, only Vernon's, and at that point the Dursleys aren't even aware that the Potters have died until (presumably) they read Dumbledore's note.
- Harry's situation may not have been told to the Muggle Child Services, but there are wizards - decent adult wizards - who know of how he is being treated. I get that the wizarding bureaucracy is rather incompetent, and Dumbledore knows about the spell keeping him safe, and Sirius is on the run and helpless to be his godson's new guardian, but you would think that Molly or Arthur Weasley, given that they were told that the Dursleys were starving Harry, would do something more than offer to let him stay with them for the summer. Is there no one they can report this to? Once again, not the Muggle Child Services, but given that it's famous Harry Potter, you'd think it would be easier to get the wizard government to intervene, even if they have non-interventionist ideas about private family matters. Maybe Dumbledore told them about the spell, given that they are members of the Order, but they don't seem to have been too heavily involved in that until Voldemort's return.
- How about Sirius? I can mentally picture him standing there firing hexes at the Dursleys and screaming something about how he's already got the Dementor's Kiss waiting for him if he's ever recaptured, so why the hell not? I mean, what are they going to do, send him to Azkaban?
- Um, guys? You do know why Harry was living with the Dursleys in the first place? It was because regardless of how badly they treated him, they were his only living blood relatives, and therefore they continued on Lily's whole Heroic Sacrifice blood protection thing. Yes, living with Sirius or the Weasleys would probably have been pleasanter for Harry psychologically, but this way he was permanently protected from Voldemort attacks while on the property. Guaranteed. I assume that even if there was some way to remove Harry, Dumbledore would have interfered somehow in order to keep him where he was safest, if not happiest.
- Solution: Petunia and Vernon go to jail for child abuse and neglect, and Dudley AND Harry go to live with the Weasleys, Tinks, Sirius, or your guardian of choice here. Dudley has Lily Potter's blood in him, same as his mother, so the protection is intact. What's wrong with that as a solution?
- What bugs me about the Dursleys' behavior is that they're so convinced that magic is an unbearable source of shame, that they think it's better for everyone to believe they have a dangerous criminal for a nephew than a wizard. They actually claim that they're sending Harry to a reform school rather than Hogwarts. Yet wouldn't most people conclude that raising a kid who needs to go to such a school is, in itself, a black mark against the Dursleys as parents?
- The Dursleys are abusers. Real-life abusive parents will frequently make their own children out to be dangerous criminals, so that any attempt to fight back or escape will be twisted into a tales of criminal behavior. Harry spends the books either locked in a bedroom (and in the first book, the cupboard) or away at school- he has no way to defend himself against the Dursleys' allegations, and if he tried to correct anyone's beliefs that he was a criminal, the Dursleys could just as easily say that he's a pathological liar (which I'm pretty sure they do at one point). It's a very common tactic to isolate the victim and prevent them from ever getting help, and a way to deflect suspicion of abuse. Again, it happens frequently in real life, children are often found chained up or locked in rooms or even cages but when the parents claim it was because of the child's wild behavior, many news readers not intimately familiar with the case will defend them. Yes, it's disgusting, but that's exactly why Harry is never removed from Number Four by Muggle authorities nor are Vernon and Petunia ever called on it my any Muggle relatives or neighbors.
- As for Wizard authorities/allies, nobody seemed to know of his treatment until Hagrid came to pick him up, except Dumbledore, who I don't think even knew the full extent of the abuse until later. It's very likely that Dumbledore absolutely hated himself for sending Harry to such an abusive home for any length of time during Harry's years at Hogwarts once he did know, but still didn't have a choice because of the protective magic keeping Harry alive. At least Harry gets to run off to the Burrow after, like, a week or so in later books.
- So why not punish Petunia and Vernon in some way, and take Harry AND Dudley away from them? As long as Harry lives in the same home as his cousin, he still satisfies the demands of the protection spell.
- So I disagree with the idea that Harry should get revenge on the Dursleys, but I'm all for punishment (of Petunia and Vernon at least, I'm not sure how much you can really blame Dudley). I mean, they abused Harry, they should go to jail for child abuse.
- Or, if not jail, at least someone from their world should've called them out on it. It's one thing for Dumbledore — a wizard, hence someone they can always dismiss as a "weirdo" and opt not to listen to — to chew them out, and quite another for their fellow-Muggles to do so ("You did what to your nephew? That poor kid! A wizard? I don't care if he's a space alien, you bastards locked up an eleven-year-old and starved him!").
- Alternate theory: In the first book, they talk about "squashing it out of him." Perhaps they don't hate Harry as much as it seems, and they are trying to give him what they honestly see as the better life. Maybe if his eleventh birthday had passed without event, they would have eased up and things could have been salvaged a little, but when it didn't, they got desperate and started trying harder despite knowing they were bound to/had already failed, and it was a convenient way to vent whatever frustration they had in their lives that they were already used to. Love will make you do much worse things than hate, and it gives the Dursleys and the series another dimension. I will grant that the Dursleys kind of have to be hateful, bitter, narrow people anyway, but someone can be hateful and bitter and narrow without being cartoon evil. I will also grant that there's no canon evidence for this, but I'll chalk that up to a) it's a children's series, and thus I don't expect moral ambiguity, and b) JK seriously sucks at writing believable villains (seriously, ask any fanfic writer/roleplayer who tries to write from the villain standpoint. It's nearly impossible to do without just giving up and doing it For the Evulz).
- Another theory: Dumbledore, through Harry's life, has been intervening and keeping hidden from Harry. The Dursleys slip some abuse beneath the radar, though: Dumbledore's not omniscient.
- Theory not tenable. In the beginning of book 6 Dumbledore tells the Dursleys "[Harry] has never known anything but neglect and cruelty at your hands." Dumbledore did know what was going on, and still left Harry there.
- What's up with the 'wizards are born not made business'? It sounds something a racial eugenics doctor came up with!
- And the problem is? The way JKR defined her 'world', the ability to control magic is based on a genetic trait, like e.g. hair color. If it were just a matter of learning, it would be a wholly different world: no Masquerade, no Fantastic Racism... Overall, the whole plot of the series would not make sense any more, as the main reason for the war is said racism.
- A lot of things are determined in large part by genetics at birth, like height or intelligence. Why should it be surprising if magical ability is, too? What seems odder to me is that there seems to be a bimodal distribution of inherent magic ability, with most people being Muggles (no magic ability).
- The wizard gene is recessive, which explains the significant amount of Muggleborns. Squibs come about because somehow inbreeding makes the gene more easily mutated.
- Indeed — somehow, wizard genes remain an extreme minority, yet clearly are dominant (nearly all half-wizards are fully magical themselves). Go figure…
- Well, actually it is quite possible that magic is a dominant trait. A trait can be dominant but still rare. Dominant just means, if you have the gene, you're going to show the trait. That doesn't mean that the gene is very common, however. For example, it is theorized that the genotype for having six fingers is actually a dominant gene. The gene in question still happens to be incredibly rare, so unless you have the gene in the first place, you won't be born with six fingers. With the magic gene, only a few humans have it, but those that do have a very high chance of passing it to their offspring. In the case of Squibs, they were just unfortunate enough not to get the magic gene, therefore they show no magic qualities.
- Given the propensity that wizards and witches in the series seem to have for messing themselves up with botched spells, getting maimed by magical creatures they're trying to wrangle, or being killed outright in covert civil wars against the latest Dark Lord, one could argue that magical ability is being selected against, not selected for. Consider how many Muggle deaths vs. how many wizarding deaths take place in the seven years of the series, and then ask yourself if natural selection is really on the "magic gene"'s side.
- The problem with this, however, is the fact that we've been told that all 'Muggleborns' are actually descended from squibs at some point so it's not like all of the Muggleborns have the same DNA mutation that their ancestors didn't have. If that were the case then they wouldn't need to be descended from Squibs. It has to be recessive because there was magic in their line somewhere and yet their parents themselves didn't have magic.
- This troper doesn't know much about genetics, so feel free to tell me how wrong I am, but I was thinking that because the wizards have such a separate society, only a tiny minority would marry Muggles (I don't like the series, agree wholeheartedly with most of the stuff on this page, and find it very difficult to get 'inside' a world which just makes no sense whatsoever, but I would say that this one might be explicable.) So most wizards would have two magical parents and there would be a high proportion who had two dominant magic alleles, which would account for the fact that most half-wizards had a magical gene - one parent has two dominant alleles = all children have at least one dominant allele. Okay, that's the amateur genetics explanation, you can disagree now.
- Two other possibilities. First, genetics isn't so simple as dominant/recessive. It may be that magical ability in the Potterverse requires some combination of genes, which is why it acts kind of dominant (noticeably runs in families) and kind of recessive (can pop up in children of parents who don't have it themselves.) Wizards wouldn't understand this, since they simply haven't studied genetics as much as Muggles. The second possibility is WMG, and Fridge Horror: consider Memory Charms, Polyjuice, and magic like that. Perhaps there isn't really such a thing as Muggleborns, only Half-Bloods.
- A surprising number of people have had this problem with the series… at some level, we bring to our books the assumption that "wizards" (in any context) are "better", so when we read that they are born-not-made, it feels morally wrong. The whole point in the Potterverse, however, is that even though they are physically capable of more than Muggles are, they are not "superior" in a racial sense. If this makes sense: eugenics would be wrong even if it were right.
- Well, wizards in the Potterverse are physically capable of a lot more than Muggles, so "superior" is a reasonable term for them. This is explicitly because of genetics, so "racial sense" applies. Potterverse wizards are not necessarily *morally* superior to Muggles—quite definitely not so, by most moral standards—but they are genetically superior to us. In the Potterverse, eugenics is "right" (meaning true or correct) even if it is "wrong" (has undesirable political or moral implications.) Though the Purebloods appear to be wrong in thinking that Purebloods are automatically more magically powerful than Half-Bloods or Muggleborns.
- I always assumed that magical ability was less about genetics and more about pure luck. If you're born of muggles, it's just some sort of magic that comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with genetics at all. As if there was just some sort of spare magic or something in the air that gravitated towards the parents of the soon-to-be born child and made them magical. If you're born of one or two magical parents, you're much more likely to take in this magic ability and be born with powers because it's more likely that this magic that floats around naturally is around the places you frequent (i.e. the magical world) and you have an easier time taking in this magic than some. Of course, in the case of Squibs or even some potential muggleborns or half-bloods, it could be that something within them or their genes makes it so that the magic doesn't take and they are left with no powers. In short, my idea is that your powers are "born-not-made", but it's not something about your genes or your parents, but something that is pretty freak and random. People have no control over it and can't learn it, but it's also not something that's passed down through DNA or something. It's just this weird aura that acts up sometimes and creates these witches and wizards.
- "Born, not made" is meant to be an intentional comparison to real life bigotry. Discrimination against people who are a different race, homosexual, etc. come out because the person was born in a different way, not because they somehow chose to be different. Magic users are a minority that suffered from what were essentially hate crimes in the past and would likely be subject to similar bigotry and fear if The Masquerade was dropped in modern society.
- Why are magical creatures (including humans) so rare? They seem to be far more capable of surviving, yet evolution seems to have favored the non-magical creatures. In fact, it's apparently possible to duplicate food using magic. You'd think once something works out how, it would take over the world.
- It seems that the non-magicals out numbering the magicals is a factor as much as the magicals being content to not advance their way of life. It also comes down to wizarding kind trying to separate the worlds as much as possible by trying to keep the magical creatures secret.
- Given that many mythical creatures, including Rowling's, are Mix-and-Match Critters, ordinary evolution wouldn't account for their existence anyway. However, it does seem that however they first formed, they should subsequently outcompete non-magicals. Maybe they need to be in the presence of wizards to survive?
- That could very well be. Indeed, in many cases it's speculated that certain magical creatures were created by wizards long ago in the dimmest mists of time. Hell, maybe they all were.
- At least in the case of humans, it could be related to the Immortal Procreation Clause. Dumbledore was over 100 when he died, and Bathilda Bagshot was even older (she was an adult when Dumbledore was young) and died ''after' Dumbly. It's possible this applies to other species too, the only magical creature we see dying of old age was a fifty-five-year-old acromantula. Add in various recent wizarding wars and the Ministry's regulation over magical creatures, it's not that far-fetched that populations would be kept small.
- Also, magic users likely have a population problem due to the inherent danger of their lives leading to very sudden and unexpected deaths. Despite having extra resilience and extremely good medical care thanks to magic, wizards and witches need to regularly deal with highly dangerous creatures, potions, devices, and spells. Their very powers are dangerous enough that one can kill with a simple bit of will if they so desired. While they may be superior on paper, they live in a much more dangerous environment than Muggles.
- How do wizards tell the difference between magical and non-magical creatures? It seems unlikely that they understand the Van der Waals force, so they'd think geckos are magic, but they haven't hidden the existence of geckos.
- Perhaps there are ways to sense the innate magic of such creatures.
- They don't hide each and every magical creature. Kneazles can pass as highly intelligent cats, Mail-Owls look like regular owls. Overall, it is possible that they only hide those creatures that would endanger The Masquerade when they are seen by Muggles.
- Of course, at some point, this gets circular — in the case of many of the creatures, they would endanger the masquerade only because Muggles have never seen them before.
- I think the idea is to hide magical creatures that can't be explained by Muggle science, and everything else they just count as Muggle animals, like goats. They produce bezoars, which are classified as magical but goats aren't, and I know people will say "how do they know what muggle science can explain when they don't know about muggles?" Well, that's simple, there's a whole section of the Ministry for people who know about muggle things. How else could you explain Muggle Studies teachers?
- For that matter, how did flobberworms ever get on the list of magical creatures? By their description in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there's nothing magic about them whatsoever. Granted, their secretions get used in potions sometimes, but so do bits of mundane animals, like cricket wings or snake scales.
- There might be a bit of a desire by the magical community to keep valuable creatures not yet discovered by Muggle science to themselves.
Hagrid and magic
- Okay, this also has to do with Hogwarts, but mainly the series in general... why the heck is Hagrid not allowed to use magic? The first book establishes that it's because he was expelled. However, once he turned seventeen, he should have been able to use magic regardless of whether or not he finished Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, and George also did not finish Hogwarts, and they're still allowed to do magic. Granted, he was accused of summoning a monster that killed someone, but even after his name was cleared and he got a cushy teaching job, they still didn't allow him to go to Ollivander's and get a new wand. If it has to do with the fact that he was expelled from Hogwarts rather than dropping out like the protagonists did, it still seems like disproportionate retribution. Also, Sirius and Bellatrix broke out of jail and still manage to do magic just fine, so what gives?
- Half-breed prejudice, maybe?
- He is not allowed to use magic, as in, it's against the law for him to be caught using it, otherwise he is physically able to do it. They took that right from him because of the circumstances of his expelling, as was shown in Chamber of Secrets. Then, when his name was cleared, he probably got the right back, but by that time he was so unused to not using magic normally that he didn't bother with difficult stuff. It's probably illegal for Sirius and Bellatrix to use magic too, but since there is no way to actually take their powers without taking their wands...
- Possibly he would have to make a legal appeal to the Wizengamot, or whichever body he would appeal to. At which point he would say, "No, I didn't release the creature from the Chamber of Secrets, that was You-Know-Who. All I did was illegally raise an acromantula which escaped into the Forbidden Forest. Then I found it a mate and now there's a whole pile of 'em living in there."
- Do we know for sure that he wasn't allowed to go get a new wand? Perhaps he just chose not to. He's been living without the legal right to use magic (but physical ability to) for 50 years. I'm sure he's gotten used to living without it. On top of that, the characters we know who didn't FINISH school DID take their OWLs, which may be part of a legal issue about adult wizards and witches being allowed to use magic. Hagrid was expelled as a third-year and never took any of the standardized tests. One last thing may be how, exactly, the 2nd book was resolved in terms of Hagrid. We know, as the readers, that Hagrid is innocent. Dumbledore knows this, and presumably most of the faculty do as well. It's suggested that he presented SOMETHING to the Ministry that allowed them to hire him on as Professor, but we have no idea how this was accomplished. Showing that the Basilisk is still in the Chamber and presenting an (empty) diary with a basilisk fang stuck into it won't definitively prove Hagrid innocent - particularly since so many people believed the Chamber of Secrets was a myth that they probably never suspected Hagrid killed Myrtle by actually using the snake, which would make it hard as hell to connect his expulsion with this other incident 50 years later. Sadly, the good guys knowing that Hagrid is innocent doesn't mean that the Ministry would give him full wizard rights back, even if they did let Hogwarts employ him as a teacher.
- Um hello?? Hagrid HAS used magic even though he isn't allowed too. 1) Dudley's pig tail, 2) fire in the hut-on-the-rock, 3) those giant pumpkins. What do you think the umbrella is holding is?!!
- Since wizards are practically powerless without their wand, why don't any of them use wrist straps?
- There probably are wrist straps or wand holders of some sort; it's just never touched on in the series. It's quite common in fanon that most adults have a wand holder that allows for easy access of their wand.
- Then you would think they would be more common, if not obligatory. What with the fact thay they should be able to prevent wizards from getting disarmed in combat and all.
- Speaking of wand holders, Lucius Malfoy in the films is depicted as hiding his wand in a cane. It's just that most wand users never really think about having a lanyard or similar method for keeping their most vital tool safely on them.
Dursleys and glasses
- This could probably fit with the Dursley entry above, but if they have been shown to not give a shit about Harry, why did they give him glasses? We've seen what the world looks like to him without his glasses (It's a slight blur), so it's not like Harry's Blind Without 'Em. And giving a kid glasses to correct his vision implies you care enough about that kid to help him see a bit better. If anything else, it'd probably amuse them to see Harry struggle to read small print (very small print, like on a ketchup label or something). Did the school force them to give Harry glasses or something?
- The school theory is entirely possible. At least here in Germany, you have several medical check-ups during primary school. Usually at least one Tetanus vaccination, one or the other dental check-up, and a general physical examination before you start swimming lessons in fourth grade. The latter one includes, among other things, an eyesight test.
- (OP here) Interesting. But could a school really force the parents to give their kid glasses? What could the school board do if the Dursleys, say, refused and kept sending Harry to school w/o glasses? Sue them? Call Child Protection Service on them?
- The latter possibly. Keep in mind, though, that their whole charade was they were taking in their 'good for nothing' nephew and helping him out of the goodness of their hearts. To the neighbors, he was a troublemaker that wasn't thankful for the things his aunt and uncle did for him. It would look bad if suddenly he was complaining about being unable to read as well and his aunt and uncle didn't give him some corrective lenses. Someone might start to think "maybe the Dursleys aren't as perfect as they look" and call child services.
- Except the Dursleys can just lie, "We gave our ungrateful nephew some contacts!" and they would think nothing of it.
- Were contacts popular/viable in the 80s and 90s? I wouldn't know.
- I'm pretty sure they were.
- Except for the fact that opticians won't allow contact lenses until you're old enough. I wasn't allowed to get contacts until I was fourteen or fifteen.
- The problem with this is that you can see contact lenses in people's eyes if you look close enough and know what to look for. Also, it would look strange to the teachers when Harry still cannot read small stuff on the blackboard with his 'shiny new contacts'.
- As far as the quality of Harry's eyesight goes, it was established in book 7 that it's actually pretty bad without his glasses. After Ron, Hermione, and the others take polyjuice potion to turn into decoy-Harries in chapter 4; Hermione comments that Harry's eyesight "really is awful," before putting on glasses.
- I think it's because compared to her perfectly normal 20/20 vision, Harry has bad eyesight. We've seen the world through his eyes w/o glasses and it's just a fuzz. It's not like he's totally blind without it.
- If you're talking about the movies, that doesn't count. A movie can't show what it's like with really bad eyesight because the audience has to be able to recognize what they're seeing. So the movie makers have to tone down the blurriness so that things are fuzzy but still recognizable.
- Thus, I suppose it was a minor case of Even Evil Has Standards. Malnourishing and mistreating Harry is one thing, but leaving him without a mean to properly perceive the world is another altogether. What if he gets hit by a car because of that? Dumbledore would be most certainly not amused.
- Lenses, and certain frames are free on the NHS for those under 18. The Dursleys are likely to get Harry the cheapest frames possible (rather than ones he likes), which would be free under the NHS. Given that they expect Harry to do a lot of the household chores, they likely got them for him so he can actually see what he's doing and make sure he doesn't burn the food, or miss spots when dusting.
- Remember, they had him doing all the housework. They might've been annoyed when he started dropping/breaking things because he couldn't see.
- Something just occurred to me. What if a witch/wizard were born blind or deaf or paralyzed? What happens to them? Do they learn magic that enables them to see/hear/move? Or are they just SOL in the magic department?
- There does seem to be a treatment available for blind wizards, as Moody has a magic eye. Presumably it's not the only one. Deaf wizards may have a similar treatment available. Wizarding medical technology seems far and away superior to our own — Harry was nearly killed on more than one occasion playing Quidditch, but he walked away unharmed, so it's probably safe to say that it's pretty unusual for someone to have a condition that's not at all treatable.
- Not just nearly killed, but had all of the bones in his arm disappear completely. All it took was a few days of bed rest and drinking what looks like a commercially available potion. How long do you think it'll take Muggle technology to reach the point where over-the-counter medication can generate bones out of thin air and put them in the proper place in your body?
- Blind? Magic eye. Deaf? Reparo on eardrum. Paralysed? Reparo on spinal cord. These guys can heal shattered skulls in seconds, it's not hard for them to repair disabilities.
- They're trained to deal with Basilisks, Mandrakes, and Fwoopers!
Easter and Christmas
- Why do wizards celebrate Easter and Christmas? Surely as religious holidays, those events have no significance for wizards. I can understand Christmas, since, hey, free presents, but Easter shouldn't be celebrated by wizards since they don't really have any religion (certainly not Christianity, anyway).
- You have to step back and remember that this is a magical world. In this universe, any historical/religious figure could have been a wizard or witch (a common idea in fanfiction is to have the Greek Pantheon based on Witches and Wizards). Perhaps due to the various actions of wizards and witches, the magical world still celebrates certain holidays for different reasons than Muggles. We never see much about religion besides Dumbledore's belief in the "next great adventure", but that doesn't mean the magical world doesn't have a religion of some sort. It's entirely possible that the religious holidays are various magically important holidays as well.
- Not to mention the fact that many of the students are Muggle-born. If nothing else, they have holidays so that the wizard child can go celebrate religious holidays with their still-Christian parents.
- Besides, how do we know that they're not Christian? The characters in the books don't go to church, but neither does most of the UK most the time, and the Muggles and Muggle-borns seen in the story don't make any mentions of faith either. Sure, you could make the argument that they might hold a grudge over the whole burning/hanging/torture hullabaloo, but the various monarchs of England did more to Catholics (then Protestants, then Catholics again) than they ever could have done to wizards without wiping them out. That doesn't mean that all the Catholics (then Protestants, then Catholics again) up and left and said that they weren't going to be English anymore. They probably just subscribe to a version of the faith that doesn't say mean things about witches, in the same way that modern LGBT faithful mentally edit out the Old Testament bits about gays and shellfish.
- Jesus was actually a wizard who wanted to help the Muggles. But, some of the them didn't like what he was doing and so, instead of the boring standard burning, they hung him on a cross.
- Given the time period that the wizards chose to withdraw from the world, I've wondered if they might be gnostic. It wouldn't conflict with their practicing magic, and the above explanation would fit as well, just add he made them think that he was on the cross.
- Ron actually says "Thank God" in OotP when he's talking about Snape not staying for dinner, and a few chapters later Sirius sings "God Rest Ye Merry Hippogriffs". As mentioned before, much of the UK isn't particularly religious, and a phrase such as "thank God" would be thrown around fairly casually. Plus there's a church in Godric's Hollow, a mixed Muggle/Wizard community, so it's a stretch to say that wizards don't go to church. It's likely that there are Christian (or Gnostic) wizards, but for the most part they're fairly apathetic to religion, only keeping up Christmas and Easter traditions.
- More definite examples are the St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. But most importantly, the quotes on the tombs in Deathly Hallows are from the Bible: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21) and "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26). So Christianity certainly exists among wizards.
- Uhm. It's easily forgotten sometimes, but both Christmas and Easter are originally pagan holidays, that have been around since well before Christianity... and were adopted (and adapted) by the church. Perhaps the Wizarding world celebrates both holidays in their more traditional ways (opposed to the Western Religious one).
- It is certainly possible. The most common explanation that I've seen is this: look at what the Bible actually forbids; conversing with demons to gain these powers. Wizarding traits are genetic in Rowling's world, and would most likely be seen by Christian Wizards as a gift. You wouldn't burn Samson or the the Saints as witches for doing supernatural things.
- Most people don't give any religious significance to religious holidays after all. The wizarding community probably thinks one set of reasons for sweets, fatty foods and alcohol is as good as another.
- Also, it's very common for non-religious institutions (including public schools, theme parks, and entire cities) to celebrate Christmas and Easter. When you walk into Walmart and see loads of Christmas decorations, does that mean that your state is 100% Christian? Of course not. It's just that holidays like Christmas, Eastern, and Halloween have become heavily secular and are celebrated by people of the "wrong" faith or even no faith at all. Seeing a Christmas feast wouldn't be any more unusual than seeing Christmas decorations in town.
- Don't forget, there is the "tufty-haired wizard" in HBP and DH: we never know his name, but he conducts Dumbledore's funeral and Bill and Fleur's marriage. It looks clear that he exercises some sort of religious function.
- Rowling insists that choice is what matters in her universe, but what she writes seems to contradict this. Firstly, the sorting hat. At eleven years old, you are defined. Even things that are choices, such as loyalty, courage, and hard work, are treated as innate qualities, and your fate is decided. I think it's fair to say that, if choice is in any way relevant, eleven year old children cannot make an informed one. There's a reason, after all, that eleven year olds are hardly ever tried for crimes in adult court. So how exactly can the hat tell who you will become at that age if you have any choice in the matter? Look at Harry. He chose Gryffindor, not because of any overriding principle, but because of trifling eleven-year-old reasons and the House's reputations. Voldemort provides another example. His chance of redemption comes from Harry's blood. Why is this? What choice do you have in your blood? Do choices affect your blood? If Harry's blood is innately good, then so is he and therefore chose nothing. In fact, the oft-cited statement "It is our choices, much more than our abilities, that show who we really are" demonstrates this even more starkly. Rowling seems to be saying that choices matter, but she is in fact saying the opposite: that who you are determines your choices rather than your choices determining who you are (see Rachel Dawes conversation with Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins for comparison). In the Potterverse, your choices only illuminate your true nature, they don't really affect anything. Now this would be fine, if Rowling believes in determinism and writes to reinforce that, bully for her. The Fridge Logic comes in because she proclaims the virtue of choice and free will but writes things in a way that makes them irrelevant. I'm not sure if she's simply philosophically muddled or intentionally contradicting herself.
- The idea with his choice in the Sorting was that Harry was rejecting everything that Voldemort symbolised. He wasn't rejecting it because 'Oh yuck Slytherin!' but because 'That's where Voldemort came from.'. The Voldemort's redemption thing doesn't mean that Harry's blood is innately good, it means that it contained an innate good force (i.e. Lily's sacrifice) that didn't affect Harry, but offered a way to repair the damage to Voldemort's soul, if he chose it. And I don't really see anywhere in the series where someone isn't able to choose differently, no matter who they are. Malfoy is offered the choice to turn away from Voldemort, repeatedly.
- It wasn't just Voldemort. It was the fact that Harry was faced with all sorts of negative information about Slytherin, real and propaganda, and thought the other, less-maligned houses would be better. He knew that Draco, who he didn't like, wanted desperately to be in Slytherin and was sorted there before him. He knew that his new friend Ron hated Slytherins. He heard Hagrid's clearly exaggerated claim about every evil wizard ever being from Slytherin. He knew that Voldemort had been in Slytherin. He thought that (though he admitted this might just be his newfound anti-Slytherin bias) they looked like an unpleasant lot. If it was just the Voldemort issue and he hadn't heard everything else, he might not have been so keen to end up somewhere else. And really, who would want to end up in the evil house full of future murderers that contains someone you don't like and is hated by your one wizard friend that also contained the wizard who killed your parents? Under those circumstances, I think it was a choice anyone would have made.
- It wasn't just Slytherin that Harry had heard bad things about: he'd heard a disparaging remark or two about Hufflepuff as well, and withheld judgement until he'd actually met a few of them. And his initial dislike for Slytherin came as much from the bad attitude he'd sensed in Draco in the robe shop and on the train as from what Hagrid had to say about that House. Remember, Draco was trying to be friendly on the train, at least to Harry; it's because he was also rude to Ron that Harry decided to believe the criticisms of Slytherin were justified, not just talk. There's where he made the (Lampshaded!) choice of whom the "right sort" were, and he made it on the basis of direct observation of Draco's and Ron's behavior, not just dissing between the Houses.
- Dumbledore does believe Hogwarts sorts too soon, but then the Hat is an ancient magic artifact, not something which can just be overruled. Also, Harry's blood was not inherently good per se, but the light magic enchantments on it meant it could somewhat counteract the effects Voldemort's Horcruxes had on his soul, which he chose to make. Voldemort would still have had to choose to feel remorse, the blood just gave him a second chance.
- Correct. The only true way for a person to save themselves from being locked into limbo in the afterlife after creating Horcruxes is to feel true remorse for what you had to do to create them (which involves murder). However, many people obviously don't do that (it takes a hell of a guy to kill people and fragment their soul to try and gain some kind of immortality) and the pain of reconciliation is typically fatal.
- Sorting doesn't define a person's "fate", just their school life. There's no indication that school house has any impact on adult life (beyond, perhaps, mundane networking, but even then The Slug Club is house-neutral and seems far more effective). The houses only seem important in the series because it takes place almost entirely in the school itself.
- Fine about the school, but what really bothers me is the constantly stressed distinction between Harry and Voldemort. So our hero and our big bad had pretty similar starting conditions, but they made drastically different choices which proved one of them good and one of them bad. But why did Voldemort act the way he did? Because he was unable to love. Unable. Due to the love potion and lack of mother's love and so on, but in the end it was the inability, contrasted with Harry's ability, the influenced his choices and made him what he is, not the other way round.
Gun versus wizard
- I know that a gun would never turn up in the books and are exceedingly rare in the UK, but purely hypotheticaly, how effective would a gun be against a wizard? Personally, I just don't see a wizard being able to react fast enough to defend themselves, but I've had several people disagree and I'd like to see some other opinions on this.
- Muggle vs. wizard combat has been discussed extensively above and elsewhere, with no clear consensus emerging. Personally, I am of the opinion that it would look something like The Salvation War: individual wizards might be able to cause a lot of damage under the right circumstances, but there is no way their flashy powers would enable them to overcome our collective advantages or their collective cluelessness.
- To paraphrase wizard Winston Churchill: they may be clueless, but Muggles have no magic. One day they may not be clueless, but Muggles will never have a wand. In other words, a Muggle may be able to take a wizard now, but if it came down to open war between mage and man, I wouldn't be surprised to see a come-from-behind victory for wizardkind.
- You're assuming muggles don't vastly outnumber wizards worldwide, which is strongly implied throughout the series. So if you had a fight between, say, a few dozen wizards with wands and a few hundred Muggles with machine guns and heavy artillery? Yeah, I'm betting on the Muggles.
- A-a-a-nd then the wizards turn invisible and teleport behind the Muggle lines and right into their HQ, and the Muggles are fucked, and then the wizards Imperius the Muggles and order them to turn on each other and the Muggles are properly fucked, and then the wizards summon some Dementors, and the Muggles are completely fucked.
- I don't think you quite understand how small the wizard population is in comparison to muggles. I don't quite remember where I read this, but I believe the ratio is like 1000:1. So yeah, the wizards are fucked.
- Even if the muggles declare war on the wizards simply for existing so it's a completely justified war for the wizards (which is unlikely), the plot to kill six billion people and commit the biggest genocide in human history is not going to meet approval from all quarters. You're going to have some wizards fighting no the side of the Muggles in order to stop them from being completely wiped out and casting protections. Not to mention that once the wizard starts casting spells, people will notice and those who are armed can take the wizard down, no matter how many Muggles are also killed.
- The above depends on assuming that a Muggle-Wizard war would be fought like the conventional, big battle-field style battles of WWII. This is patently ridiculous. Magic in Harry Potter is perfect for non-conventional, asymmetric guerrilla warfare. Think about it, your soldiers, vehicles, and bases can become invisible, they can be teleport instantaneously between remote locations, and everyone in the population is trained in the use of a weapon that can heal, incapacitate, maim, and kill. Not to mention that in a real war, you do not need to kill everyone (or even 99% of the population) you just need to do enough damage to awe your enemies into surrender, and Shock and Awe is the Wizard's strong suit ("Listen up, we can bend the laws of physics and reality by talking fast, so submit to us before we turn your extended family into gerbils."). With good planning, Wizards can do pretty well in a war. And if all else fails, they still have Dementors and the Inferi.
- You want to talk shock and awe? Sure, wizards can do some damage with their pretty little sticks, but until they prove that they can take out an entire city in one go whenever they want, they won't be scaring any major world power into surrender. The Muggles have had that capability for nearly seventy years. Facing that kind of power, I guarantee the wizards would surrender first.
- And Muggles, despite the purebloods' claims, still give birth to and/or father a healthy percentage of the next generation of wizards. Yes, wizards might be able to conquer the Muggle population, but how much good will that do them in the long term, if all it achieves is to make Muggle-dom so hateful of their kind that every Muggleborn kid in future generations is going to get put down like a rabid dog by his or her own family, terrified of the "monster" they've produced? Sure, Voldemort's fans might convince themselves that's a good thing, but check back in a few hundred years and all you'd have left of wizardry would be a few pathetic, inbred remnants like the Gaunts.
Dumbledore and Dementors
- Does anyone else think that Dumbledore hating Dementors is fantastic racism? I mean, sure the Dementors eat happiness, but it's just the way they evolved. Similarly humans and many animals eat meat because our metabolic processes were designed to do so, and eating meat requires the animal to die, while all Dementors do is make people unhappy for a bit. While it is true that the Dementor's kiss is truly a horrifying experience, it is once again on par with humans and animals killing for food. Dementors only do their kiss on people who they happen to know are evil, they never do it on someone innocent (unless they were told the person was evil); in this sense, Dementors can be seen as lawful neutral, they do what they do to survive and kiss those who their boss tells them to. And it's not like a person who was kissed can't be put out of their misery. Because they feed on happiness, that means that working as Azkaban guards must really suck. They really put their well being on the line for the people they work for.
- How can that be 'racism' if they're only doing what they have to do? If lions regularly leap out of the woods and ate people, at what point does 'racism' come into a dislike for them?
- Actually, I think the Dementors eating souls means that those souls are destroyed. They aren't just sucked out, sustain the Dementors, and then pass through them to the afterlife. Those souls are gone forever. Those who have lost their souls don't need to be put out of their misery because they aren't in misery, they just no longer exist. This may be how the Dementors evolve but it's the worst thing that could happen to anyone. Ever. Far worse than simply dying. And the Dementors don't only destroy the souls of the evil people. We know that Sirius, at least, was imprisoned unjustly and I highly doubt that he's the only one this has ever happened to. Crouch Jr. was not ordered to be kissed and Harry and Dudley certainly didn't deserve to have their souls destroyed. Not to mention that the Dementors get to do whatever they want to once they side with Voldemort again.
- We've seen the Dementors attack innocent people. The only time they've made people mildly unhappy is on the train to Hogwarts, and that was because the people were children who didn't have unhappy memories. People with unhappy memories are basically reduced to gibbering wrecks around them, and that's just from their mere presence, not their Kiss. "And it's not like a person who was kissed can't be put out of their misery."- I find this a pretty disturbing viewpoint, to be honest. It's fine that the Dementors give a fate worse than death to people, since we can just kill those people if it happens. And the fact that they attack on command doesn't make them lawful neutral, it makes them "just following orders", which most humans would agree is no justification for evil deeds.
- Except for when they commit them. (This Troper has read The Lucifer Effect.)
- Except that's not true. The Dementors allied themselves with Voldemort at the first chance they got. From what we can tell, the Dementors don't guard Azkaban and restrict Kissing to the guilty because of any moral or ethical obligation, they do it because it's currently in their best interests to do so. Once Voldemort makes them a better offer, they scarper. As far as it being natural for them... well, maybe it is. That doesn't mean we have to like it. They're our predators. If the food that we ate was clever enough to figure out that we eat them on the daily, they probably wouldn't like us much either.
- The Dementors don't seem to be living creatures. A Patronus is the only thing that can keep them at bay, and there doesn't appear to be a means of killing them. This leads me to believe that they are originally wizard-created beings, or at least are dark spirits who were raised by wizards. Their purpose is explicitly to cause misery, and Dumbledore disagrees that they should have existed in the first place. What is more distressing is that they are nowhere to be found in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That book explicitly lays out that the Ministry classifies all life in the wizarding world to be either "Being" (wizards, ghosts, goblins, house elves, etc) or "Beast" (Acromantula, Kneazles, Basilisks, Flobberworms, etc). The book makes special mention that centaurs and merpeople are classified as beasts by choice. It features an entry on werewolves that makes no similar distinction (although they mention that they only got the second highest danger classification, rather than the highest, because they are only active once a month). The distressing part is: The Ministry of Magic writes off werewolves as animals, but Dementors are beings.
- "Being" only means "sentient", not "nice" or even "civilized". There are plenty of evil creatures that aren't in Fantastic Beasts, and werewolves in human form are classed as "Beings".
- I always thought of the Dementors as a Neutral Evil / True Neutral Wild Card, myself. You know, as if switching sides instantly because the other faction has better prospects, draining positive emotions and eating souls wasn't at least some evidence for Blue and Orange Morality. Or possibly Blue And Orange Insanity.
- Dementors are viewed with such hatred because they're essentially the worst kind of predator: not only do they attack innocent people if it suits them (and cause emotional problems to anyone who's even around them), but their method of killing literally removes the person's soul. In the Potterverse, it's established that souls exist and the afterlife exists. Consuming a person's soul is even worse than killing them, because they don't get to live on after death. They're just gone. Dementors guard Azkaban because that's where the food is, and (as said) they started working for Voldemort when they got a chance. They're apparently sentient since you can make deals with them and give them orders, but whether or not they're "evil" it doesn't change the fact that they're extremely dangerous and vicious predators that are only kept at bay by offering them a supply of people to torture and drain so they don't run out to do it to innocents.
- I don't see Dumbledore as hating Dementors, just the way the Ministry used them to guard Azkaban. He wanted them to be freed to go about the country instead of keeping them all together and guarding who Dumbledore knew would be their allies.
- Our first encounter with Dumbledore hating Dementors in the books was POA, when they started guarding his school. He doesn't want the soul-suckers anywhere near HIS GODDAMN KIDS! For all of his ethically-questionable acts, DD really did care about his students.
Important services not in Diagon
- Why the hell are the Ministry and St. Mungo's not in Diagon Alley? The Ministry in particular is a challenge — every morning and evening, hundreds of witches and wizards have to enter and leave, and we can see how much special effort has been made to conceal its entrances, and given how totally incompetent wizards are at concealing themselves among Muggles, I can only imagine how many incidents they have to handle every year where some wizard accidentally does something to reveal themselves and the Obliviators have to come in and deal with it. What kind of sense does that make? If the entrance were in Diagon Alley, people could just apparate into the Alley, or get there via Floo Powder, and just walk right in via, you know, a door. Come to think of it, how does Arthur get to London every morning anyway?
- About St. Mungo's, its explained why it's NOT in Diagon Alley in OotP. Moody explains it when they go to see Arthur there. It's because there was no place in Diagon Alley big enough for St. Mungo's.
- We only see the hard way to get into the Ministry and St. Mungo's because Harry can't apparate yet. At the age of 17, most people have an apparation license and can teleport instantly. I'd assume there's a designated area before the entrance to apparate in, and then they get their wand checked at the Ministry or go to the front desk at St. Mungo's. Keep in mind that Wizarding transportation is a lot more advanced in some ways, so they don't usually have to worry about going in the Muggle way.
- I don't think that's true, after seeing how many of the employees are going in via the bathroom in Deathly Hallows.
- Except it's specifically mentioned in the book how only the highest ranking officials (read: Death Eaters) are cleared to use the Floos or Apparate and how big of a hassle and irritation it is for everyone to have to use these weird guest entrances.
- Turn it around: why do all of London's wizarding businesses cluster in their own neighborhood (Diagon Alley) rather than alongside the Ministry or St. Mungos? Because for small shopkeepers like Diagon Alley harbors, doing business is more profitable in a lighthearted, casual atmosphere where customers can go out for a pleasant day's browsing, dining, socializing and entertainment, not in the strictly-regulated environment of a government district or the glum proximity of a hospital.
- Wizards really are the most easily brainwashed people in the world. The general wizarding public seems to do a complete 180 on their opinion of Harry Potter about once every other year. Yes, there seems to be only one "real" media source in the Daily Prophet and only one big tabloid in the Quibbler, and the Ministry's making a concerted attempt to shape public opinion, but really. After 12 years of thinking of someone as a hero and savior, then flipping to thinking he's responsible for killing muggle-borns at Hogwarts, then back to thinking he's a hero, then to thinking he's a lying attention-whore, then back to thinking he's the chosen one, then back again, all in the space of 7 years?
- This troper finds it unlikely that those sources are taken totally seriously. There are more magazines, plus Wizarding radio, so it's fairly likely that the Prophet isn't everyone's main source of news. I also think that The Ministry and the Death Eaters massively underestimated the intelligence of wizards or people in general. Also, major news networks will run a blatantly biased piece one year and then run another that contradicts the first a year or two later, in Real Life... though they get called on it. Other characters (than those closest to Harry) mention that the Prophet's view of Harry doesn't add up, so wizards probably aren't that easily brainwashed... just those who are stupid enough to only read the Prophet and then take it seriously.
- You're also assuming that every wizard even pays much attention to the news.
- Also, just think how the media influence people's opinions in real life.
- Thew only people who seemed affected by Harry in his second year were the students. They had a fear of Parseltongue users, especially since the "Heir of Slytherin" was threatening the students. The fourth yeat, Harry was more hated by the students again for what they perceived as cheating. Only in the fifth year was the majority of the wizarding involved in the hatred of Harry due to the government's misinformation campaign, though even with that it wasn't known how many normal wizards were influenced.
Dursleys keeping Harry out of school
- If the Dursleys hate Harry so much, why do they go through great measures to make sure he doesn't go to school? Wouldn't that mean he'd be out of their hairs for 10 months?
- It's more about their fear of wizards and Harry learning to be one, plus just enjoying Harry's misery at not being able to go. They would rather have him with them and have all of them be miserable than have him go and let him have a good time.
- I believe it's because he's the one who does most of the household chores? With Harry gone to Hogwarts, the Dursleys would have to do their own chores for a whole 10 months.
- I think their fear of magic has a lot to do with it. Looking at it from a naive Muggle perspective, magic is an unknowable force that lets even a child do great harm to people and property if they so desire. Sending the orphan that they abused for years to a school that teaches him more magic is understandably a terrifying thought.
- Actually, they'd already been planning to send him to a Muggle boarding school in Book 1, so he'd be out of their hair for 10 months no matter what. It's only him going to a school that would encourage his use of magic that Vernon and Petunia were dead-set against.
Fear of name
- Where did the fear of Voldemort's name come from? It's handwaved as saying that names contain power, but no one else's name seems to carry that sort of stigma, or have any kind of power to speak of.
- Two words: The Taboo. Of course it makes DD an even bigger idiot for insisting that Harry uses it.
- Not really. The Taboo was only possible because Voldemort controlled the Ministry, something he never managed to pull off in the first war. Additionally, in the second war everyone (well, everyone not off hiding in the woods with a limited source of information about the outside world) knew about the Taboo so it stands to reason that everyone would know if that had been the case in the first war and yet no one mentions it. When Harry asks Hagrid why people don't say it, he doesn't say anything about how in the old days saying it would get you killed. Dumbledore mentions that he's repeatedly tried to get McGonagall to say 'Voldemort' the very day after he disappeared when their dialogue indicates that this is the first time she's seen him since hearing the news. And maybe if there was a Taboo Dumbledore would say it anyway and feel perfectly safe doing so but he certainly wouldn't encourage the practice and get his allies tortured and killed. The Taboo in the second war does not make Dumbledore an idiot for encouraging - not insisting - Harry to say 'Voldemort' because he had no way of knowing that Voldemort would take over the Ministry one day and decide to take drastic measures to stop people from saying his name.
- Yes, really. You don't know that - it's just as possible, that he could use it any time, but didn't see the need prior to DH, because he already knew where Harry was, but couldn't reach him. Harry's isn't told a bajillion other important things either, so it is not a valid argument. "If it was a good idea DD would do so" is not a valid argument either - that is what we call a Plot Hole. If DD didn't expect V to take over the Ministry (which is, I remind, completely incompetent, helpless and corrupt), then he's an even bigger idiot and a lousy strategist. The Taboo wasn't meant to stop people from saying V's name - it was to track down those few who, by courtesy of DD, were dumb enough to use it.
- When Ron tells Harry about the Taboo he says "The name's been jinxed, Harry, that's how they track people! Using his name breaks protective enchantments, it causes some kind of magical disturbance - it's how they found us in Tottenham Court Road!" and "It was only people who were serious about standing up to him, like Dumbledore, who dared use it. Now they've put a Taboo on it, anyone who says it is trackable - quick-and-easy way to find Order members!" The Taboo was not solely for the purpose of catching Harry. It was for the purpose of catching any of the people who were seriously opposing him. Harry isn't told lots of important information, true, but surely if all the adults, at least, knew about the Taboo and Dumbledore knew that Voldemort was coming back one day, he wouldn't tell Harry to say 'Voldemort' all the time. If saying 'Voldemort' does nothing then using the name is a nice way of being brave. If it DOES still break all enchantments and make you easily findable, then saying his name is a stupid thing to do. Dumbledore, again, could get by doing it but he's not going to get an eleven-year-old boy to do it. That would be criminally stupid. I never said that "If it was a good idea DD would do so" was my argument, you know. I know he makes mistakes but telling Harry to say a name that will make it so he can be found by Voldemort any time the subject of Voldemort comes up (and if he's on the run from Voldemort, this will be a lot) without telling him the risks...NO ONE would be that stupid and a lot of the people who just say 'oh, don't say that name! It's scary!' would really have a better reason if saying his name was literally dangerous and they have no reason to hide this information from Harry. And I also didn't say that Dumbledore never expected Voldemort to take over the Ministry, just that he never expected him to take over the Ministry and then make his name Taboo so that anyone who used his name could be tracked. It's the second, italicized, part that Dumbledore didn't expect. Ron only finds out about the Taboo after he's away for awhile and he acts like it's something completely new whereas (even if it was in place beforehand but Ron didn't know until now) if it was explained to him then it would have been explained in terms of 'the Taboo is back' or 'so now we need to start worrying about the Taboo again' instead of 'there's this new Taboo' which it clearly was. Remus ran into them and didn't tell the about the Taboo even though he gave them a lot of other information. Kingsley was apparently almost caught by Death Eaters after he said Voldemort and there's no way he knew the Taboo was going on beforehand and yet was still stupid enough to invoke it after the Ministry fell. Plus something as wide scale as the Taboo really is going to require the use of the Ministry and its resources. The only way that underage childrens' magic can be tracked is through the Ministry, after all, and that's just as widespread and large-scale as the Taboo. It really makes no sense on a number of levels for the Taboo to have been in place all this time or in place during the first war and now in place again and the fact that Dumbledore makes mistakes and Harry isn't told everything doesn't change this.
- I always wondered how the students and children ever learned to be afraid of the name of Voldemort as shown in the first books. I can understand the adults being afraid, but in order for the kids to have that same visceral fear, they would have to learn to be afraid, but the only way to do that would be for their parents to pass this on. That would be impossible as no one who said the name would fear it and no one who feared the name would say it. That means the children would never learn to fear the name.
- It's just a repetition of the parents' language and awkwardness, as with any other euphemism. (And many of them might not even know the real name anyway.)
- How on earth is the Wizard Economy supposed to work? Unless I'm mistaken, it seems like transfiguration lets wizards either create or duplicate whatever they want. While there might still be a demand for things such as, say, Ollivander's wands, because they're unique, how do they deal with the fact that a wizard has little to no need to actually purchase things?
- Because Transfiguration and Conjuration is hard, and Wizards are lazy. They could make it themselves, if they took the time to remember how, or research it to learn how, or they can go down to the store and buy one, ready made and probably of better quality than whatever they cobble together.
- Not sure about Transfiguration, but I don't think conjuration is permanent?
- It isn't. JK explained that conjuration is not only difficult, but that objects created tend to fit a general specification instead of a precise one (so creating something detailed and unique would be extremely tricky) and that conjured objects don't last for long. This explains why Wizards don't just create clothes and food out of thin air (in fact, they can't conjure food at all).
- There's probably also a limit for how much food can be duplicated without causing more and more imperfections in each copy. So a wizard traveling out in the boonies could multiply his rations to let him travel longer on the cheap, but he couldn't indefinitely sustain himself on his own cloned food because each duplicate would be worth less and less until finally it's inedible. Transfigured objects also likely change back within a short time, which would make transforming inanimate objects into food a.....risky proposition, to say the least.
- Let's take a look at what's being sold in wizard shops. Gobstones - which shoot a nasty smelling liquid at the loser's face. Animated wizard chess pieces. Flying broomsticks. Wands. Food - which is subject to Gamp's Laws of Elemental Transmutation. Potions and potion ingredients. A moving model of the galaxy. I'm having trouble thinking of a case which ISN'T either enchanted or with magical properties not present in magically replicated copies. Wizard shoppers aren't paying for the material value of the items they purchase (because with transfiguration there is nearly none), they're paying for the labour cost of the enchantments placed on them, or the rarity cost of unmagickable items.
- If Hogsmeade is the only all-wizarding town in England how come it's right next to Hogwarts which is in Scotland?
- According to PoA: " 'Do you know much about Hogsmeade?' asked Hermione keenly. 'I've read it's the only entirely non-Muggle settlement in Britain -' "
Wizard treatment of Harry
- This might be a bit of a weird one, but it always irked me how the wizarding world treated poor Harry throughout the series. For the first few books, they treated him like a hero (when in reality, he was just lucky), but after the fourth book, they suddenly start looking down upon him because they refuse to believe that Voldemort had really returned. And it gets really bad in the last book, when the whole government (under Voldemort's control, mind you) is actively persecuting him! Then I realized that much of the wizarding world (the older inhabitants, at least) are a bunch of hypocrites who really don't care about Harry, and are more interesting in following the crowd! ...Sorry, I just needed to vent about something that's been bothering me for quite a while... and perhaps JKR did it on purpose for us to really side with Harry...
- Their behavior is completely understandable. Voldemort was essentially the greatest terrorist most wizards and witches had ever seen in their lives, and many lost friends and relatives (and possibly nearly themselves) to his attacks and assassinations. When Harry tells them that he's back, nobody wants to believe him because it's an utterly terrifying thought. The Ministry thinks the same way, so they begin a smear campaign specifically to try and stamp out this thought and keep the populace from panicking. Then again, look at it from the crowd's perspective: a 14-year-old Parselmouth (a trait associated entirely with Dark wizards) who apparently tricked his way into a magical contest teleports away with the person tied with him for victory, then teleports back with his corpse, covered in injuries and screaming hysterically that Voldemort has returned. There's not actually any evidence for anything that he says, and it would be trivial to interpret it as a lunatic student killing another one and blaming it on the Dark Lord.
The Power of Love
- Ok, the theme of the books is that the Power of Love is the most important/powerful thing and Dumbledore is the main advocate for this, who goes on and on at length about how incredibly important it is and how Voldemort's evilness stems entirely from his inability to love. And then Rowling's Word of God about his backstory states that he had one bad experience with love, decided that it makes you evil and stupid, and avoids it like the plague for the rest of his life, all the while still preaching to everyone else about how great the power of love is. What? Granted, it was the mother of all bad experiences, so his reaction is fair enough, but it doesn't mesh well with the theme of the whole series. Did Rowling drop the ball on that one, or am I just missing something?
- And to think that some people seriously accuse Rowling of fawning to the gay folk. The actual message seems to be the polar opposite.
- This is how I see it: Dumbledore realizes how being in love affects his own decisions and decides to avoid it entirely. That's his individual decision, though. He also realizes that it can make people do great things and is overall a powerfully positive force, and therefore continues to advocate love as the most powerful thing ever. Besides, it's not like he avoids all types of love entirely, just romantic love. He obviously loves Harry and McGonagall and plenty of others, it's just that it's not romantic love, because not all love IS romantic.
- Agreed. One of the most powerful and often-mentioned loves there was in the series was Lily's very-much-not-romantic love for Harry that saved him and it wasn't Harry's love for Ginny that threatened Voldemort.
Bertie Bott's popularity
- Why exactly are Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans popular at all? Regular companies without magic can create candy that tastes like vomit or earwax but don't. Why? Because no one wants to eat something that tastes like that. Companies make candies that people actually want to taste like chocolate and cherry. Admittedly there are people who like mouth-watering candies that make your eyes water, but they aren't a majority and those candies aren't stocked in large amounts.
- But that's the appeal! You buy chocolate, you get chocolate. You buy a bag of Bertie Bott's, you could get anything. Could be chocolate, could be toast, could be ants, could be boogers. Every bean is a gamble. They also seem to be more popular with kids (the one time Dumbledore ate one, he had his Nostalgia Goggles on), who can appreciate the "danger" and the grossness. There is a social factor too: You can't say much about sharing a chocolate bar, but with the Beans you and your friends have something to talk about with every bite.
Bellatrix as a role model
- Why oh why is Bellatrix considered a "feminist role model"? I'm not talking about her sadism, cruelty, insanity and other characteristics that make her unworthy of being called "human". I'm talking about the fact that her entire character is her psychotic devotion to a MAN. A man who happens to be a cruel, unloving mass murderer, a man that abuses and tortures Bellatrix. That's the complete opposite of Feminism! Feminism is about female liberation and female empowerment; Bellatrix is all about women submitting to men! I think that's why Molly has to kill her, by the way, she's overpowered by a strong, self assured woman; and okay she is a a housewife, but even so she does not submit to men (heck, men submit to her)
- Fangirls probably overlook that part in favor of her being a Dark Action Girl and the only active female Death Eater (besides Alecto) that we see, which apparently makes her "empowered".
- Also, Helena Bonham-Carter. Who WOULDN'T want to fawn over her?
- As far as I know, feminism is supposed to be about equality and ability to choose, with liberation and empowerment being possible choices but not the choices. Submission is also a possible choice, for as long as it is submission out of choice rather than out of lack of other possibilities. Of course that doesn't mean that Bellatrix is a role model there because she's no role model of any sort, but if she were actually eligible for the position of a role anything then she might have been one for feminism because she chooses what she does rather than just wait for commands, which is more than any other death eater (maybe with the exception of Snape) does. But again, she's no role model of any sort anyway, since she's crazy.
- Why didn't any of the characters simply apparate out of tight situations? I can understand Dumbledore and Snape, since it's impossible to apparate in/out of Hogwarts, but what about Lily, James and Harry? If she heard Voldemort coming, she probably had more than enough time to grab Harry and just apparate to a safer place, and I don't seem to recall there being anything mentioned about how "they couldn't have done that because so and so".
- They didn't have their wands with them (established in DH). Unless you are crazy powerful and can do wandless magic (i.e. you are Dumbledore/Voldemort), you need a wand to Apparate.
- The usual MO seemed to be putting up anti-Apparation wards.
- I'm willing to bet that there were anti-apparation wards around the Potter house specifically as a security measure (it's easier to take care of or flee from intruders if they need to walk up to the house personally instead of just teleporting inside).
Ending Quidditch matches
- How did Quidditch matches end before the introduction of the Golden Snidget and later the Snitch? Current rules only allow the game to end when either the Snitch is caught or the two captains agree to end the game. So before the Snitch, were all matches won by forfeit? Or was there a score or time limit for the game to end that was eliminated when the Snitch was introduced?
- Having a match decided by who gives up first sounds like a really stupid thing to do as then it's not a matter of who is the better team but by who is more stubborn. The teams could just glide around not doing anything and waiting for the other ones to quit. The first-to-whatever would work best for an elimination-style tournament because teams that often won would have around the same point total and it would mean that some teams only got to play one game a season. I think the most likely and sensible answer is that before the Snitch there was a time limit.
- Having every match won by forfeit before is stupid and illogical... which considering how we know the wizarding community acts most of the time, means that is the most likely option.
- I vaguely recall something in Quidditch Through the Ages about games in the pre-snitch days ending when one team reaches a certain score. But even if that wasn't the case, the current model is hardly any less stupid or illogical. A modern match between two teams whose seekers are particularly inept or are stuck riding shoddy brooms could conceivably never end. In fact I think there was a mention in the first book of a famous match that continued non-stop for days because nobody could find the snitch.
- After one game with an inept seeker, said team would be quick to fire him for someone else. Both of them having shoddy brooms seems like a big coincidence, especially since the Seeker most needs the best broom the team has.
- Quidditch Through The Ages provides a lot of history for the sport, and indicates that it evolved gradually rather than simply starting as "Quidditch today, but missing an endgame." That would be ridiculous anyway, but Quidditch started out without any Snitch and was just a regular ball game like soccer or basketball on brooms. Snidget hunting became popular eventually, and the Chief of the Wizards' Council offered a 150 Galleon reward to the player at a particular Quidditch match that caught the bird. It made the game much more exciting and added a new element to it.
- Quidditch Through The Ages states that a quidditch match ends when a) the snitch is caught or b) by mutual consent of the team captains. So, there is no "the game goes on forever" even if the snitch is never caught; once both team captains agree that there's no point in playing any further, the game ends.
- What if the captain of the losing team refuses to let the game end?
- It probably means that he will need a really sturdy codpiece after the match lest he gets certain body parts hexed off by annoyed teammates.
- I can't find this anywhere: Why is quidditch have rules that mean that if you play seeker for team Awesome, which has fifty points, and the other team, team Goblin, has four hundred points, then you can either catch the snitch and lose or do nothing? Why did Krum catch the snitch in Goblet when he doomed his team that way? And how many beatings did he receive for that by his angry teammates?
- Presumably none. As was explained in the book, Krum knew that his team was getting hammered and couldn't win. He had the choice of catching the Snitch as soon as possible so that he could end the game on his terms or waiting until they were losing by an embarrassing degree...which also risked the other Seeker catching the Snitch instead.
- The opposite team was outscoring them 17 to 1. If Krum didn't catch it right away the score would have been even more embarrassing.
- Possibly: it's not unheard of for a star athlete to do what makes him look good, or makes his stats better, even if it's not the best for his team.
- A Seeker whose team is badly behind doesn't do nothing: it's their responsibility to foil the other Seeker while their teammates struggle to catch up, or to end the game with the honor of a Snitch-catch if they have no chance to do so.
- Why do all means of scoring in Quidditch grant points in multiples of ten? Chasers get 10 points for scoring a goal with the Quaffle, and Seekers get 150 points for catching the Snitch. How is that any better than having a Quaffle-goal win 1 point and a Snitch-catch, 15? Unless there used to be another means of scoring single points, or of losing single points as a penalty, using multiples of ten just seems like unnecessary score-inflation.
- Because this is the wizarding world. Seriously, this place runs on applied illogic and wishful thinking. We should be glad it runs on a base-ten system at all, and doesn't award 74 points for each Quaffle score and 93 for each Snitch or something.
- Quidditch cup points translate directly into house points, and Rowling designed the sport to fit the school, rather than logic. Having the snitch only be worth 15 house points would make the whole thing seem pointless (whereas having the protagonists auto-win by saving the day at the last minute makes everyone else's struggle for points all year really meaningful.)
- They don't. That's pure Fanon.
- Because 10 is a cooler number than 1. A lot of real-life games score things in multiples of 10 or 100 or 1000. Pinball machines, for example. Getting 100 points for hitting the bumper just feels better than getting 1 point.
- The game has changed quite a bit over the years, as all the various Noodle Incidents show, and there may have been any number of other scoring plays before it was pared down to just goal + snitch. Also, sport scoring systems don't have to be logical. See: Tennis.
- What's the point in training to become an Auror? The ones we saw seemed no more competent at defeating Death Eaters than normal Hogwarts students.
- The six people who went to the Ministry are hardly 'normal Hogwarts students' and Aurors are more competent than them, if only by virtue of knowing more magic. Aurors also don't exist solely for the purpose of catching Death Eaters or else there would be no Aurors when the books start. Asking why bother having Aurors if there are stronger Death Eaters is like asking why bother having police if a criminal could still shoot them.
- There were twelve D Es (a few of them done in by the DA) against two Aurors (Tonks and Kingley), one former Auror (Moody) and two civilians (Lupin and Sirius). The Aurors and Order members were outnumbered. Then came in Dumbledore...
- And what kind of people call themselves "Dark" without irony? Light makes sense because anyone could call themselves that? Humanity's worst monsters typically either think they're saving the world or don't care what anyone calls them.
- Maybe an outbreak of Then Let Me Be Evil. Maybe they tried to give themselves a badass-sounding intimidating name and failed. Maybe they were given the moniker by a newspaper and it stuck.
- Might also be a social construct result of a "hiding=good" mentality since the Witch Hunts. Light is metaphorically associated with knowledge, openness, lack of secrecy, discovery, while dark is associated with concealment, hiding, safety. Makes sense that a society in hiding might develop strong Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil tropes, starting to break down with the recent-to-the-long-lived-Wizards Enlightenment but engrained enough to have symbolic significance to the traditional crowd.
- Healers, for example. You could have a healer with dark ties who thus has some darker knowledge and is not afraid to use it if it means saving someone's life, as opposed to a "light" healer would would shy away from it even if it means that someone dies. In other words, "dark" people would be those who, at least to a certain degree, can accept "the need can excuse the methods".
Unbreakable Vow retroactive
- Could the Unbreakable Vow work retroactively? I mean, could you use it to confirm that you're telling the truth about something you said or did in the past, as opposed to what you will or will not say or do in the future?
- Presumably, as long as the wording of the vow included a phrase that was some kind of variation on the theme of "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth for the next x minutes?" Admittedly the punishment - death - would be a little harsh, but yes, I think it would be possible.
- Considering that Unbreakable Vows are dark magic, this is rather likely to be the case.
Longbottoms Fidelius Charm
- Why weren't the Longbottoms under a Fidelius Charm? If Neville was one of the possible Prophecy targets it would seem that they would have gotten all the protections afforded to the Potters.
- They probably were, and when Voldemort was defeated, they dropped the charm. Then Bellatrix attacked in the chaos and confusion and let-down-their-guard celebration, or some point a few years after, as a revenge strike before her capture.
Mrs Weasely's job
- Why doesn't Mrs Weasley get a job? Constant reference is made to the fact that the family are super poor, but one of the two possible main providers stays at home? This becomes especially apparent in the second book, where all the kids have either moved out or are at Hogwarts. Even a few days a week could possibly make a difference.
- She's spent the last two decades taking care of children full time. Sure, she's strong and can whip up a great meal and clean a house pretty well but what other skills does she have? Maybe she was planning on getting one, or training for one, but was just taking a break after all the years of child raising? Then the war started.
- Is it ever stated outright that she doesn't have a job? She might take seasonal employment while the kids are away at school, that we just don't see.
- How do Dementors reproduce and what does the fog have to do with it?
- It conceals the disgusting details of their reproduction process.
- According to Rowling here, dementors spawn like fungi.
- How does Parseltongue work? In The Chamber of Secrets, I believe, we are told that this is a super-rare ability, and a big deal is made about Harry being a Parselmouth. Then in The Half-Blood Prince we see three members of Gaunt family talk in Parseltongue to one another. What's the point of speaking an animal language to a human? Dumbledore, who is present during the scene with Gaunts, seems to understand what they are speaking, too. And in The Deadly Hallows Ron learns Parseltongue... by listening to Harry talking in his sleep. So, if you can just learn Parseltongue, why is the society afraid of Parselmouths, as we see in The Chamber of Secrets? And why is it considered so rare? All the people mentioned above, Voldemort, and, allegedly, Salazar Slytherin, - that leaves us with eight Parselmouths in the series.
- The point of speaking it to a human is that you cannot be eavesdropped on. DD knows it because he's the goddamn Dumbledore. Ron manages to reproduce one word from many tries. Just because it can theoretically be learned, doesn't mean it's not insanely difficult, hence the rareness. Slytherin's kin apparently had to as an innate ability. They were afraid of it, because V could do it.
- Dumbledore doesn't understand Parseltongue, he just can recognize it.
Talking to other animals
- On a somewhat related note, why do we hear about people talking with snakes, but not with other animals, like, say, owls? Owls are pretty big deal, they are vital to communication. You'd think that talking to your pet would be useful. And what are snakes good for, except for being used as Horcruxes, killing people and supplying a half-dead psychopath with venom?
- Owls can clearly understand human speech.
- Harry talks to his owl all the time, and she can clearly understand him. It's more because of her intelligence, though; wizard owls seem to be smarter than common wild owls. As for what snakes are good for, well, killing people is a pretty big deal. I can't see a covert assassination going well when attempted by owl.
- For all we know, there are other kinds of animal-speaker in the Potterverse; it just happened to be snake-speakers that had starring roles in this particular series of adventures.
Hagrid with the muggles
- Why doesn't anyone ever suggest to Hagrid (who is treated as an oddity and failure by several wizards for his lack of magic and what not) to go live with Muggles? Hagrid lives in a shack and constantly praises Dumbledore's generosity for making it happen despite his expelling. Amongst Muggles, Hagrid would be a celebrity and richer than the Malfoys. His strength alone would let him win like, any sport ever. No one there would give a crap about his heritage or lack of magic since no one would know about it. He'd just be a tall, super strong dude and a celebrity. Amongst humans he'd be a legend. Since he's not allowed to use magic (And most seem to assume he doesn't), its not like they'd expect him to blow The Masquerade open. And it's not like there's rules against him interacting like muggles, since they let Squibs do it all the time and several wizards live smack dab in the middle of muggle communities.
- Because he's a good groundskeeper. He still has plenty of magical knowledge, especially when it comes to magical beasts and Giants, and can provide a good service to the school. And Hagrid doesn't want to leave. He's not just out for fame and fortune, after all. He heavily respects Dumbledore almost to the point of blind loyalty, and remaining on the school grounds lets him reclaim a little of his lost magical schooling; you know he's likely still upset about being expelled. Being the groundskeeper lets him be around the community that he's a part of. He's not going to run off to the Muggles just because it might get him more cash.
- Joining Muggle society would mean leaving behind all the magical creatures that fascinate Hagrid, not to mention everyone he's ever known or respected. He can't legally do magic, so he wouldn't be allowed to keep fantastic beasts in a Muggle community: he can't conceal such animals' presence, or erase witnesses' memories if anyone caught a glimpse of his "pets". Besides which, he's such a terrible liar that he could potentially spoil the Masquerade if he hung around with Muggles for long.
- Also, being considered a bumbler by wizarding folk is probably still a better option than being considered an out-and-out genetic freak by Muggles. Hagrid is quite abnormally huge, after all.
Hermione and pink
- Why was there such a big deal made over Hermione wearing pink in the movies? Seriously, it's just a freaking color, for crying out loud. It's not the end of the world if she wears a pink sweater/dress.
- I don't think it's so much an issue as just a 'couldn't you be more imaginative than that?' thing. The whole 'girls love pink' thing is pretty overdone, especially when we see more of her than any other female character.
- Why was it only Lily's sacrifice that magically protected Harry? James died for love too. Is it because motherly love is apparently stronger than a father's love? Is it because James tried in vain to fight back and violence is wrong? Is it because Voldemort offered to spare Lily (in which case it would be quite poetic as Voldemort's one act of mercy bit him back hard)?
- The latter. Voldemort offered to spare her life and she rejected it in favor of offering her life instead of Harry's. James' sacrifice was noble, but it didn't fulfill the condition of "being allowed to walk away and not doing so."
- V never offered to spare Harry's life, yet in "Hallows" Scarhead's sacrifice somehow provides the similair effect. How is that?
- Because, while there was no scenario in which Voldemort was going to let Harry live, Harry had to make a choice to walk out unarmed and allow Voldemort to shoot him without resisting. He just as easily could have spent the time setting up barricades for the second wave of attacks, but Harry decided to sacrifice himself, thus fulfilling the condition. James Potter's death didn't qualify because Voldemort planned to shoot him regardless, but he honestly would not have killed Lily if she'd run.
- James attacked Voldy. That is why he didn't give a protection. Lily sacrificed herself without fighting. That is why she did give a protection. It was the same reason why Harry, by not fighting, gave protection to everyone at the end.
- Perhaps I'm missing something from the books, but I was wondering why the Weasleys don't become clearly financially better off as the series progresses. It's quite understandable that they're in poverty at the start of the books - only one wage eaner at home (earning what sounds like a mediocre wage), supporting a housewife, a son who's just left school, four who are still there, and one daughter who hasn't even started yet. However, towards the end of the series, only two of their children are in school (and living at home), meanwhile one is in (what sounds like) a well-paid job as a cursebreaker, one works with dragons (presumably there's good hazard pay in that) and another two are running a lucrative business. Surely they can afford to help their parents out, and surely Molly and Arthur are much better off with fewer dependants at home?
- Was their poverty even emphasised that much or at all by the end of the series?
- Mostly Malfoy making fun of it. But that could easily just him still being a jerk even after they've become more financially stable.
- Okay, explain this one: Even if you haven't killed the unicorn (heck, even if you haven't harmed the unicorn, it could be that the unicorn cut itself to give you its blood... assuming it can do that), would drinking its blood still curse you?
- Firenze's dialogue in "Philosopher's Stone" indicates that the unicorn blood itself has few (if any) magical properties, but the "half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips" that someone who drinks it will be subjected to is derived metaphorically, from the drinker having slain something pure and innocent to save themselves. As with a lot of other magic, intent matters.
Durmstrang and Beubaxtons in the Second War
- Why didn't Durmstrang and Beubaxtons get involved in the Second War? We know there were a bunch of contacts between the three schools (Fleurx Bill, Hermione pen pals with Krum, etc), so where were they during the war?
- Uhm, probably at home, teaching their students magic. They're not a SWAT team, it's not their business to fight foreign terrorists. Besides, it's a subclause of the general "Why didn't other countries help England" question, which is discussed elsewhere.
Snape and Draco
- Why does Snape like Draco? At all? It's generally shown in the books that they get along famously until Draco becomes a Death Eater in the sixth one, but previously to that, why didn't Snape just flat-out hate Malfoy's guts? Given that Draco's a lazy, cowardly, privileged, bullying gang boss, he seems like the embodiment of everything Snape should hate from his own experiences. In comparing Snape and James' rivalry to Harry and Draco's, Draco is clearly the closer equivalent to James. Now, Snape has deluded himself into thinking that Harry is exactly like James, but there's quite simply no way he can see himself in Draco, or believe Draco is the victim of Harry's bullying.
- Perhaps Snape doesn't like Draco. Perhaps his years of favoritism were designed to get him in the good graces of Lucius Malfoy and by extension a hypothetical reformed Death Eaters. Nothing like Draco coming home and saying "Dad! Professor Snape's great! He really hates Harry Potter and mudbloods!" to get Snape the street cred he needs to be accepted despite working for Dumbledore for ten years. And by the time Half-Blood Prince comes around, Snape is concerned for Draco because he's about to ruin his life by joining the Death Eaters.
- Also, remember that there's a part of Snape that'd been attracted to the nascent Death Eaters of Slytherin as a youth, and struggled to fit into their cliche. Early on, the well-off, socially-privileged, pure-blooded Draco may well have seemed like the kind of boy Severus had wished he could be, back in his tempted-by-Darkness school days, and that side of him couldn't help but be drawn to young Malfoy, even though he knew the path that Draco was on only led to disaster.
Quidditch and quaffle
- Why would quidditch teams care about the quaffle at all? Getting the snitch is such a huge swing in points that it seems like the best strategy is just to have the keeper and 2 chasers guard the goalposts while the rest of the team attacks the other team's seeker.
- For one thing, in later games, they rack up such high scores that the snitch doesn't end it for the win (i.e. the World Cup game from TGOF), or they need to win by so many points in order to take the cup (this happens more than once in the books, I believe.) Alternatively, this troper hypothesizes that if a team attempted such a strategy, the opposing team would put one of its beaters and their three chasers on pure protect-the-seeker duty, and then have another beater eliminate the two enemy Chasers guarding the goals, (because anyone's fair game for a bludger hit except for the keeper when the Quaffle isn't in the goal area, if I remember correctly), and then when they're down, the beater could go guard the seeker, and then you'd have three chasers attacking the goalposts, allowing for you to score twenty, thirty goals before the other team's seeker finds the Snitch.
- Where do wizards get food? I mean the half-bloods and the muggleborns can always go to a muggle grocery stores, but it's shown in-series that there are a few wizards who don't know how to even use muggle money so where do they get food? Are there wizard grocery stores where ignorant and muggle hating wizards can buy their food?
- The Weasleys run a small farm (more of a garden and some chickens but I digress); I'm sure the Malfoys are rich enough to own a plantation of sorts; once they have food, they replicate it like crazy, bada bing, bada boom, feasting for life.
Harry as Seeker
- How could Harry possibly make such a good Seeker? A Seeker's job is to spot a walnut-sized ball flying around the arena, a task which logically requires good eyesight. And as we all know, Harry wears glasses. He should be struggling to spot the Snitch, yet for some reason he seems to be unusually good at the task. Glasses aren't perfect, and even if his somehow are, they shouldn't give him superhuman eyesight.
- The point of eyeglasses is to improve the wearer's vision to the point that it is as good as that of someone who doesn't need them, so as long as he's wearing his glasses, the fact that he needs them isn't a problem. It's frequently mentioned that to be am effective seeker, one has to be able to notice things that most people won't, like a snitch, which Harry is frequently shown and said to be capable of.
- Why does the Wizardry world seem to have an obsession with adding unnecessary and superfluous enchants to products they manufacture that should make them more inconvenient and undesirable? For instance, why do they animate chocolate frogs to move and behave like actual, live frogs (Eeewww!) and even try to run away when they're about to be eaten? Or produce disgusting-looking black candies that bite people? Or animate books, turning them into monsters that attack their owners◊, many of which are children? It's like they believe that they should enchant everything just because they can!
- It is likely they do enchant them because they can. Especially with candy for kids, for a substantial majority of kids gross is cool.
Magical community war exposure
- How come that the magical community wasn't exposed to the Muggle world during the First Wizarding War? You have a huge wizard war going on and the muggles didn't even notice? Yes, wizards tend to hide their identities as mages from muggles, but this troper doesn't see Voldemort's side bothering with that, seeing how they were planning to enslave muggles, so clearly they intended to reveal themselves to them anyway.
Muggles and magical creatures
- Also, how come that Muggles don't know about magical creatures? Most magical creatures are unintelligent and wouldn't bother hiding themselves from muggles.
- Similarly, how about wizards who look differently from normal humans, such as giants? Are they forbidden from coming into contact with muggles or letting them see them? Do they have to stay away from places where there might be muggles? Or are they forced to use Polyjuice Potions to adopt human forms (if that's even possible; humans and giants are different species after all)?
- Hagrid takes Harry through muggle London on the way to Diagon Alley in the first book, so there probably isn't any restriction forbidding the likes of him from being seen by muggles. The muggles most likely assume he's just a really, really big guy. I imagine if I saw someone of that size walking down the street, I'd guess "some kind of hormonal disorder or heavy steroid abuse" before "descended from magical creatures that I have no reason to believe are real".
- Hagrid is only a half-giant. Real giants are much, much larger. Just look at Grawp, who is just a baby.
- Hagrid takes Harry through muggle London on the way to Diagon Alley in the first book, so there probably isn't any restriction forbidding the likes of him from being seen by muggles. The muggles most likely assume he's just a really, really big guy. I imagine if I saw someone of that size walking down the street, I'd guess "some kind of hormonal disorder or heavy steroid abuse" before "descended from magical creatures that I have no reason to believe are real".
Turning in Skeeter
- Why didn't Harry, Ron or Hermione turn Rita Skeeter in to the Ministry once Voldemort was defeated and proper authorities were in charge again? I mean, they clearly are pissed at her for what she does, so why not put a stop to it?
- They may have turned her in over being an unregistered animagus, but perhaps politics and having just been through a major civil war meant she got off relatively unscathed. Skeeter can't be universally unpopular after all, enough people must like her columns to make them worth publishing. They probably just put her on the animagus list, and told the teenagers that being a PITA isn't a criminal matter.
- They weren't just random teenagers at that point. Harry Potter was literally the wizard Jesus, fresh off his victory against Voldy-thing. Not to mention that the Minister for Magic after the war was Kingsley Shacklebolt, member of of the Order.
Harry's son and Hagrid
- Why is Harry okay with his son visiting Hagrid for tea, especially after what he did in Deathly Hallows? Hagrid, in this troper's humble opinion, crossed the Moral Event Horizon by trying to stop the defenders of Hogwarts from defending themselves from the Acromantulas. He is watching everyone he supposedly cares about getting potentially devoured by giant spiders and his first instinct is to defend the monsters. I'd imagine that in the many years between the Battle of Hogwarts and the Epilogue, Harry should have realized the following: 1. Hagrid's alcoholism nearly compromised Hogwarts' security. 2. He lets three children commit a crime by concealing the existence of his illegal dragon. 4. He doesn't realize the danger the creatures he loves so much pose to those around him. 5. His attempts at using magic to solve a problem will either be erratic or almost get Harry killed. 6. Doesn't have any objection when students are required to serve detention in a forest which hosts a race of violent centaurs.
- All right, first off, you skipped 3. Second, Harry likes Hagrid, and him sticking up for the Acromantulas can be chalked up to his naivete. Third, Hagrid isn't really an alcoholic. Sure, he let something slip to someone who was intentionally trying to get him drunk while at a bar. Just because he got drunk one time doesn't make him an alcoholic. As for the rule-breaking, sure, Hagrid has made some mistakes, but he's generally well-meaning, and that's what counts in Harry's books.
Voldemort and the Stone
- Dumbledore said he believed that Voldemort preferred creating Horcruxes to drinking the Elixir of Life (from the Philosopher's Stone), because the Horcruxes would make him independent of anything but himself, while the Elixir of Life would make him dependent on the Stone. Basically, Voldemort liked to work independently and to not be dependent on other things or other persons, but when it came to Horcruxes the case was anything but. First, you would be dependent on the survival of the object or living thing that was made into a Horcrux. Not only that, but if you suffer a fatal wound (like Voldemort did when he tried to kill Harry as an infant), you remain alive, but become meaner than the meanest ghost, as Slughorn put it, and that is exactly what happened to Voldemort. In order to get even a rudimentary body back, Voldemort was dependent on one of his followers finding him and then making the potion that would generate the rudimentary body. And even more so for the regeneration spell in Goblet, which made Voldemort dependent on being able to access his father's grave, a follower who would willingly amputate a limb for him, and blood from an enemy. In fact, Voldemort spoke of how he despaired when none of his followers would find him for years, showing his dependence on them. So it looks like the Horcruxes actually made him extremely dependent on both the external objects and the living things in question and on his followers going through the process of making the correct potions to regenerate his body after suffering a fatal injury. So Horcruxes didn't really confer independence at all. Getting the Elixir of Life from the Philosopher's Stone would have caused less dependence, only on the Stone. Why did Voldemort make such an error of judgment? I guess it's, as Dumbledore said, if Lord Voldemort understood all that, then he wouldn't be Lord Voldemort.
- The Horcruxes have multiple advantages over the Stone, and really if Voldemort could be truly independent, he wouldn't need followers at all. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the Elixir of Life only extends your lifespan, it doesn't actually make you unkillable, whereas the Horcruxes would make you unkillable (he survived attacking Harry, yes he did need help to regain a body but he was alive). True he was dependent on the Horcruxes but he got around that by 1) making several of them, 2) hiding them and adding numerous enchantments to protect them. The Stone on the other hand; as far as I recall, there was only one Stone which complicates matters if it's stolen or the Elixir is contaminated, and he's mortal again. And as I mentioned; if the Elixir doesn't make you unkillable, then he'd truly be dead when he tried to kill Harry and the curse backfired on him. In short, if Voldemort had the Stone, he'd have to drink the Elixir often, whereas with the Horcruxes, all he needs to do is make them, add protection charms and hide them.
- At certain points, the Dursleys cross the line and go from cartoonish dickery to actual child abuse. I'm thinking mainly about making Harry sleep in the cupboard under the stairs and when Petunia tries to hit him with a frying pan. Let's just put aside the issue of making Harry stay with these assholes. Let's just grant that Lily's protection is necessary for Harry, and that no one bothered to look in at the standard of care the Dursley's were providing their nephew. Let's just talk about what would have happened if an 8 year old Harry had gone to someone at school and told them that he was being abused? What would Dumbledore have done if a well meaning Child Services worker had come out to Privet Drive and actually seen the under-the-stairs cupboard or the ill-fitting clothes Harry wore, or any of the bruises he had on him from when Vernon had manhandled him? Would Dumbledore actually have interfered if the Child Services worker had tried to remove Harry from the home? He would have had to use the Obliviate spell on the Child Services worker, the teacher that Harry had confided in, and possibly some police officers as well. This can be downright Nightmare Fuel if we assume that this exact scenario took place prior to Book 1, with Harry having confessed to a teacher the conditions he was living in, told his story multiple times to Social Workers and police, only to have none of them remember it later.
- I don't have any answers guaranteed to be the right ones, but here's an idea: charmed paperwork. We all know that wizards somehow don't get caught in spite of probably coming into contact with "Muggle aurors" on occasions, and that's while some of them lived in the wizarding world for all their lives and most likely don't even have Muggle paperwork. So let's say that their paperwork is in the Ministry of Magic, and the Muggle government has a version of it that can't be changed (only the version in the Mo M can), and is as close as possible to the Mo M version while still showing that "all is fine". When a wizard is caught by "Muggle aurors" for something, it means that the papers show that everything is in order and there are no prior infractions and the wizard in question was born somewhere, lives somewhere, works somewhere, and all that; exactly what they see depends on what they expect to see but always "all is fine". And then we get to Harry, and the assumption that he had tried to tell someone: In this case it would be a teacher, who would report it higher and try to investigate and note what they found in the paperwork. Then someone else would be supposed to pick up the paperwork and work on it, but all they find is that "all is fine", which clearly shows that the kid is not abused (because "otherwise it would be in the files"), so the teacher gets a report that the kid was lying which reinforces the local image of Harry (which can change like that because it's not dependent on paperwork but rather on people's perception) and he never tries to tell anyone again. And that's if he actually ever tries to tell anyone, which he might not have ever tried because of Vernon and Petunia's threats about orphanages and all that stuff (when you keep on telling a scared and poorly-treated kid that "they'll have it worse if they blab", it generally does keep them silent).
Boggart topped cake
- According to Pottermore, at Lupin's parents' wedding, they had a "Boggart-topped cake". Does this mean somehow the cake was literally covered in Boggart, or did they just have a cake-topper shaped like a Boggart? And if so, what would that look like, considering the fact it's specifically unknown what a Boggart itself looks like? Or maybe they had an actual Boggart or something which behaved like one on top of the cake, and it turned into a cake-topper-sized version of whatever their guests found the most scary... that would be pretty cool.
- I'd go with the least absurd-sounding version and say that it was probably something like shape-shifting topping that looked like a cake version of whatever the person feared or something ... like chocolate Snape or strawberry dementors. Or alternatively, it could simply be slang and the cake simply changes taste depending on the person, presumably to what one likes rather than what one fears as dementor-flavoured anything would be pretty yucky.
- Why exactly did Voldemort feel the need to create 7 Horcruxes? He states that 7 is the powerful magic number, but it's not as if having 7 Horcruxes granted him any sort of additional power or protection (beyond the obvious fact that having to find and destroy 7 Horcruxes makes him much harder to kill). I mean, he could have created 100 Horcruxes and the end result would have been the same. So why did he stop at 7?
- At 6 actually (plus one non-Horcrux Voldemort that gives seven parts of him), and he stopped because he sort of died. Later after he resurrected he might simply not have had time to do it; for all we know, making a Horcrux requires murdering someone and something else than that, something that is supposed to be really terrible. While I have to admit to not particularly caring about the alleged terribleness of the required act, the fact remains that we don't know how long that takes nor what the requirements were, and for all we know he might simply not have had time. Of course, the fact remains that he was planning on only splitting his soul into seven fragments, but that was the initial plan that he had "because seven is a magically-significant number" and he might or might not have changed it had he survived as a fully-fledged human rather than just a ghost-thingy that particular night.
Ravenclaw and Luna
- I get that kids can be cruel, but why was a good portion of Ravenclaw house mean to Luna, teasing her about being odd and hiding her belongings? If you're sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore, the prefect gives a welcome message, where he specifically says that Ravenclaws value those that 'march to a different tune', pointing out that geniuses are often out of step with ordinary people. He even brings up the fact that Uric the Oddball was a Ravenclaw, when mentioning all the famous witches and wizards that were once Ravenclaws. So, if Ravenclaws supposedly 'think that you've got the right to wear what you like, believe what you want, and say what you feel', why then did this not apply to Luna? Yes, people from other houses also thought Luna was weird and made fun of her, but they weren't the ones taking her belongings, since it's unlikely that anyone but a Ravenclaw would be able to get to her dorm room.
- Who says that Luna wasn't imagining people were taking her things, same as she imagined so much else? Or, if lots of members of her House are as strange as Luna, that one of the other Ravenclaw girls didn't have some bizarre reason to take her stuff that had nothing to do with being "mean", and made perfect sense to the culprit (but only to her)? Maybe she thought that if Luna's painting of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack was left lying around the dormitory, the Bobble-Bellied Hygraxies would come and carry Luna off to their nests in the night...
- But if some of Luna's housemates were also weird, then why didn't any of them befriend her? Luna flat out says that being in the DA was like having friends, and only Ginny, and later the Trio and Neville, ever became her friends. And even if a fellow Ravenclaw thought that one of Luna's items lying around could attract something, he/she could at least give it to Luna and tell her to put it away, not just take it and only giving it back at the end of the school year when she puts up notices about it. Also, if her roommates were taking her shoes like what was shown in the fifth movie, that comes across as mean, even if they did have weird reason behind it.
- Or maybe it's simply because Luna's an oddball even by Ravenclaw standards. Just because they're known to "march to their own tune" doesn't mean they still don't follow any sense of logic, whereas Luna still does, but doesn't follow it much. It's something like comparing Albert Einstein with a devoted researcher of Bigfoot - they're both oddballs as well as brilliant minds, just in their own ways.