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    J 
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Played With for Dudley Dursley in Order of the Phoenix. Though never outright shown, it is mentioned that he has taken up boxing and managed to turn most of his excess weight into muscle, and he even became his school's boxing champion.
    • Played Straight with Cormac Mc Laggen in Half-Blood Prince, when Harry is appointed Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. He arrogantly believes in his own Quidditch abilities and belittles Ron Weasley, and he also bosses the other players around, even though he doesn't have the authority to do so.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Snape is right that Harry is a serial rule breaker at Hogwarts, to the point where he risks expulsion on a number of occasions, yet almost always escapes any serious punishment.
    • And while the Malfoys are complete Jerkasses about it, they're right about Hagrid being a generally incompetent teacher with a fetish for dangerous animals who puts his students at risk. Lucius was right to be pissed about his son getting gored by a hippogriff in Book 3; Draco is correct about the ridiculousness of Blast-Ended Skrewts in Book 4. (Hermione rather uncomfortably admits this on a couple of occasions.)
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Too many instances to count; throughout the series random bits of information suddenly become hugely important. The concept of the Horcrux is introduced in book 2 with Riddle's diary, but just what the diary is and why Riddle stuck a bit of himself in a magic book isn't explained until book 6. There's a completely random mention of a locket that Hermione throws away while they're cleaning out Grimmauld Place in book 5; that locket becomes hugely critical in book 7.
  • Join or Die: The Death Eaters, a group of fanatical wizards that hates anything related to the unmagical, kill anyone who refuses to join their forces. This becomes relevant in The Half-Blood Prince, where Horace Slughorn is on the run out of fear of murder by the Death Eaters.

    K 
  • Kappa: Kappas are one of the creatures Lupin teaches his class about in the third book, and they're described as looking like scaly monkeys with webbed hands that like to drown people. Snape incorrectly claims that they're native to Mongolia, whereas Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them correctly identifies them as a Japanese monster with a side note from Ron saying "Snape hasn't read this."
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The Malfoys, who escape death and/or imprisonment due to their one redeeming quality: love and devotion to each other. (Unless one assumes that the one huge action Narcissa Malfoy takes at the end of Deathly Hallows to help Harry wipes the slate clean for the Malfoy family.)
    • Rita Skeeter never suffers any punishment for all the lies she writes about Harry and his friends, despite the consequences it has for them, not to mention being an unregistered animagus. invokedWord of God says she even rushed out a biography of Harry following Voldemort's final defeat.
  • Kid Detective: The Power Trio. A big part of the books' structure (and their appeal) is that most of the plots are mysteries that Harry, Ron, and Hermione can solve ("What's hidden beneath the school?", "who is Slytherin's heir?", "who put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire?", etc.), which is the main reason why three underage wizards can have any impact on the story at all.
  • Kudzu Plot: All of the Harry Potter books (except Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) end with some answers being revealed but also leave the reader asking several questions which will not be revealed until later books. Some questions that are asked in the first book aren't answered until the last book. Thankfully, they are all resolved in the end.

    L 
  • Lady Drunk
    • Trelawney, who is drawn more and more as a sad alcoholic in the later books. She's first mentioned to be drunk in Order of the Phoenix when Umbridge fires her. In Half-Blood Prince Harry blunders into her while she's trying to hide sherry in the Room of Requirement.
    • Winky the house elf seems to spend most of Goblet of Fire drinking herself into oblivion after she's set free by Barty Crouch.
    • And then there's the very brief Half-Blood Prince appearance, via Pensieve Flashback, of Mrs. Cole, the director of Tom Riddle's orphanage. She seems generally well-intentioned towards her charges but worn down by stress. When Dumbledore (in the flashback) produces some gin to loosen her tongue, a watching Harry notes how she downs most of the bottle during their conversation.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The effect of a Memory Charm on the recipient is the erasure of any memories the caster specifies.
  • Legendary Weapon:
    • The Sword of Godric Gryffindor was claimed by one of Hogwarts founders, the first Gryffindor, and is made from Goblin steel that renders it unbreakable.
    • The Elder Wand is an unbeatable wand rumored to be forged by Death itself which has inspired the deaths of hundreds of wizards.
  • Letter Motif: Marvolo, Morfin, and Merope Gaunt; Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana Dumbledore.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: Until the end of the series, Harry and Voldemort were both able to survive, but "neither can live while the other survives."
  • Living Labyrinth: Hogwarts is a labyrinthine castle said by some to be sentient. The most overt evidence is the staircases' tendency and alleged fondness for shifting around.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Seeing as it takes place at a boarding school and all. Let's see: The protagonist Power Trio, about a baker's dozen worth of significant classmates, the entire Potter and Weasley families, about a dozen teachers (two of which are hardly ever shown, admittedly), another dozen guys from the Ministry of Magic, and about half a dozen on the antagonist side. And that's just for starters. All told there are over 200 named characters in the seven books.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • There are certain things that magic simply cannot do, such as reawaken the dead (per the fourth book) or conjure money out of nothing. But with the help of magical artifacts such as the Resurrection Stone or the Philosopher's Stone, it is possible to summon the spirits of the dead (or something very similar to the spirits of the dead) or create gold out of lead or other cheap metals (which is practically the same thing as conjuring money out of nothing).
    • In a more mundane example than fabulous wealth or defying mortality, when Ron complains that his mother can conjure fabulous feasts out of thin air, Henrmione tells him that food is one of the five exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration (presumably, currency is another). You can summon food if you know where it is, duplicate it if you have it, or transfigure food into different food, but not spontaneous generation. Oddly, this begs the question of whether only prepared food is subject to this, as it is presumably possible to create animals (like Hermione's birds in Book 6) or plants that are inedible unless prepared like cashew fruits (which have to be roasted extensively to get rid of the poison).
  • Loose Lips: You can trust Rubeus Hagrid with your life, you can even trust him with underage children, but you can't trust him with your secrets, through no malice of his own. Goblet of Fire has Bertha Jorkins, whose only known attribute is this due to her chronic tendency to gossip — to her own cost.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Magic wands allow wizards to "channel" their magic and only function for the wizard they "chose." How exactly a wand choices a wizard is unknown to all but the most senior wandmakers. That said, they do sometimes betray their owners if that owner is defeated.
  • Lucky Seven: Seven books, based on Harry's seven years in school. Seven Weasley children. Voldemort tries to split himself seven ways using himself + six horcruxes (and doesn't quite succeed; He accidentally makes Harry his seventh Horcrux.). This is foreshadowed in the Deathly Hallows film with the rock broken into seven pieces in young Tom's room. In-universe, seven is stated to be a very powerful magical number.

    M 
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong:
    • Subverted by Voldemort. Despite having a legion of followers who seem utterly loyal, he is betrayed a few times by people who, despite being Slytherins, start to hate him for various reasons. Snape, for example, betrayed him for over a decade; Regulus was willing to die to stop him; and Narcissa lied to him to protect her son. Not to mention that he created his own worst enemy in Harry when he tried to kill him. Voldy clearly missed the part about "avoiding hatred".
    • Played with by Dumbledore, whose philosophy of love and trust clashes with a number of his actions that are very manipulative indeed. His manipulation often does more harm than good, and Dumbledore acknowledges this, such as at the end of the fifth book.
  • MacGuffin Person Reveal: Harry spends a book and a half looking for Voldemort's six Horcruxes before finding out that Harry himself is the seventh.
  • Made of Good: A Patronus is a positive memory made manifest; unlike a person, it can't feel despair, so Dementors can't feed on it.
  • Made of Indestructium: Implied of the Deathly Hallows. The Invisibility Cloak's flawless state despite its ancient age is the first clue to its true nature, the fact that the same strike that destroyed the Horcrux within the Resurrection Stone did nothing to impede its function as a Hallow, and the fact that the Elder Wand survived through the ages despite being constantly in the centre of violent conflicts all point to this.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Followed fairly closely, mainly with the teleporting power; the reader is repeatedly told that it's impossible to teleport into or out of Hogwarts. In Book 7, we find out why this is perfectly in line with the rules. It's also explained, when they're doing their Apparition test, that the room in which they're practicing has temporarily had the blocking field suspended, but they're warned not to try it after the lesson's over.
  • Magic or Psychic?: Mind-reading and defending against being read are specific schools of magic known as Legilimency and Occlumency, though when Harry describes it as mind-reading, Professor Snape gets annoyed before stating that calling Legilimency "mind-reading" barely scratches its full potential.
  • Magical Camera: Photographs and paintings alike are animate and semi-sentient, due to some kind of special darkroom process.
  • Magical Library: The school library at Hogwarts contains information on all sorts of magic from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages.
  • Magic Carpet: These are banned in Britain because they're defined as a Muggle artifact by the Registry of Proscribed Magical Objects, though they're apparently used by wizards in other countries.
  • Magic Hat: The Room of Requirement turns into whatever people need. For a more literal magic hat, there's the Sorting Hat, from which the Sword of Gryffindor can be pulled by a true Gryffindor.
  • Magic Map: The Marauder's Map, showing everything and everyone on the Hogwarts grounds and giving insults to Severus Snape.
  • Magic Versus Science:
    • Electronics don't even work around Hogwarts, wizards are disdainful of Muggle technology, and most Muggles have no idea magic exists. Interestingly, although wizards can do most things much more quickly and efficiently with magic, there are a few cases where the wizard method just sucks compared to the Muggle method, most notably communication, where the wizards have nothing as effective as (albeit then-primitive) cell phones or Internet. They send letters by owl, which is better than the postal service, but nowhere near as good as an e-mail (and subject to getting owlnapped/eaten on the way). The closest thing they have to a phone is sticking your head in a magical fireplace, which is not portable like a cell phone. On the other hand, there are implications, primarily in Order of the Phoenix, that owls can be teleported in emergencies.
    • Subverted by one Arthur Weasley, who seems to be one of the few (along with Hermione, who was brought up in the Muggle world) who sees the usefulness of taking common Muggle inventions then enhancing them further with magic. Everyone else just thinks he's eccentric.
    • Much of this is clearly intended to reflect the cultural differences between those who live entirely in Wizarding society and those who mingle in both. For example, by the end of the series Ron, who is now married to Hermione, a Muggle-born, has gotten a driver's license. However, a cultural bias can also develop in young wizards and witches because electronics do not work in Hogwarts, which is where they will spend a large chunk of their childhoods. Thus, even Muggle-borns who grow up in regular society may become distanced from it as they live for years with magic as the only "technology" available to them.
    • There is also a legitimate question as to what is "magic" and what is "science". In the book Harry Potter and Philosophy, one contributor, Gareth B. Matthews, observes:
      Matthews: The natural assumption is that any subject that can be taught to students in such a way that their competence in this subject can be tested by examination is a science.
    • This is further illustrated by the fact that it is frequently shown that magic, much like science, operates under comprehensible laws and that if performed correctly will produce a predictable result. If performed incorrectly (something often shown in the series) it will likewise produce an incorrect result. This is most explicitly demonstrated in the subject of Potions, where in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Professor Snape states it unequivocally (emphasis added):
      Snape: You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic.
  • Mama Bear: Several, and they seem to be the bane of Voldemort's existence. Twice he's been undone by a mother trying to protect her son. The first was Lily sacrificing herself for Harry, and the second is Narcissa Malfoy, who lies to him about Harry being dead for the chance to save Draco.
  • Masquerade: The Muggle world is under the masquerade that magic does not exist.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Harry is given special lessons from Lupin, and uses it and more to train the DA.
  • Master Race: Many pureblood families of wizards view themselves this way; Voldemort, whose reasons for hating Muggles are much more personal in nature, plays on this to attract followers.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: From the books alone, Voldemort's curse on the role of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher may or may not actually be a magical curse (although Rowling confirmed a jinx on the position), and some of it is down to a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the very rumour that it is cursed (Gilderoy Lockhart was the only applicant for that role during Harry's second year). All of the teachers meet their end in very different circumstances, only one directly influenced by Voldemort.
    • Quirrell turned out to be carrying Voldemort's spirit on the back of his head and died attempting to kill Harry.
    • Lockhart was exposed as a fraud, not helped by the fact he was the only applicant, and had his memory erased by a damaged wand he was using.
    • Lupin was fired (okay, technically resigned!) when his lycanthropy was exposed, presumably by Snape.
    • Moody was actually Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating him, and had his soul removed by a Dementor after he was exposed trying to personally kill Harry.
    • Umbridge pretty much turned the entire school against her and then insulted the wrong race of sentient beings, leading to a very undignified exodus.
    • Snape had to flee Hogwarts after killing Dumbledore, but also in order to protect Draco Malfoy.
    • Carrow was a Death Eater and sent to Azkaban after being defeated in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • Meaningful Name: Has its own page.
  • Memory Jar: Pensieves are used this way and for the selfsame Pensieve Flashback.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe example. Rumours about the incredible (and possibly dark) powers that Harry possessed were circulating before he'd even arrived at Hogwarts. And the Power Trio are absolutely on the receiving end of this during Deathly Hallows, when the Wizarding World is hearing stories about three high school students who rescued prisoners from the headquarters of the Ministry of Magic itself, escaped Malfoy Manor (Death Eater HQ) from under the nose of Bellatrix Lestrange, and broke into Gringotts and escaped by stealing a dragon(!!!), on top of regularly pwning Death Eaters and repeatedly escaping from right under Voldemort's... umm... slits.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • The characterization part of this trope is averted, but the numerical part is played very straight - not counting backstories, the main and supporting characters who are Killed Off for Real in this series are overwhelmingly male, with the notable exceptions of Charity Burbage (killed in the first scene she appears, but at least given decent characterization beforehand), Hedwig (who isn't human), Nymphadora Tonks (who is killed off-screen), and Bellatrix Lestrange (a villain - and let's face it, she absolutely had it coming), along with an unnamed German woman (and her children) that Voldemort kills during his search for Gellert Grindelwald. Off-screen, there's also Amelia Bones and Emmeline Vance, both of whom were met in Order of the Phoenix and then killed off by the opening of Half-Blood Prince as part of Voldemort's rampage against people who were willing to resist him.
    • The fate of Lavender Brown is left ambiguous but bleak in Deathly Hallows, but she's given a proper Death by Adaptation in the film. The closest we get to a book-canon confirmation is from Pottermore, where her status is listed as "presumed dead".
  • Mind Probe:
    • Legilimency is the art of probing into another person's head and reading their thoughts and emotions. It can be used in relatively harmless ways to detect lying and read surface thoughts, but deep searching can completely destroy the target's mind.
    • The mental link between Harry and Voldemort potentially allows a two-way channel for either one to search the other's mind. However, whereas Harry can, if willing, look inside Voldemort's mind with relative ease and end up only a few nasty headaches worse for wear, Voldemort can't reach too deeply into Harry's mind without suffering unspeakable pain. Dumbledore theorizes that Voldemort's unstable maimed soul is unable to come in contact with Harry's pure soul.
  • Mind Your Step: The staircases at Hogwarts have several stairs that your foot will sink through.
  • Misery Builds Character:
    • Implied to be the reason why Harry has more humility than his father had at the same age; growing up with his abusive Aunt and Uncle made him a better person. Though, this is carefully qualified because there are other cases where misery did not build character, namely the young Tom Riddle and Severus Snape who suffered bad childhoods and became jerkasses, with the latter undergoing Heel–Face Turn only after realizing he made a terrible mistake and even then not changing his genuinely unpleasant personality one bit.
    • Dumbledore himself notes that Harry is exceptional for coming out of his childhood with the capacity to love that he imbibed from the memory and sacrifice of his Good Parents. And Harry himself mocks this concept when he tells Remus off for trying to abandon his family under the misplaced idea that his child is better off without his werewolf Dad.
    • According to J. K. Rowling, this trope is why Dumbledore lets Snape get away with being such an asshole to his students. ("Dumbledore believes there are all sorts of lessons in life ... horrible teachers like Snape are one of them!"). Dumbledore is perhaps the biggest example; his youthful relationship with Grindelwald and the resulting death of his sister made him a lifelong atoner for an action he never forgave himself for.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment:
    • In Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are already-mobilized misfits, but they're joined by Neville (who Took a Level in Badass); Ginny, who up to that point was nearly an extra and only Ron's little sister; and Luna, Hogwarts's own Cloudcuckoolander.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kreacher leads the house-elves employed at Hogwarts into battle against the Death Eaters.
    • The whole final battle is this for the good guys: Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore's Army, teachers and staff of Hogwarts, Grawp-the-giant, thestrals and hippogriffs, centaurs, house-elves, and probably others. Even the non-Junior Death Eater Slytherins led by Lovable Coward Slughorn. Just think of a good guy who's still alive by this point in the story. Any good guy at all, no matter how obscure. They show up. note 
  • Moe Couplet: Harry and Luna. Luna is a Cloudcuckoolander who hardly seems troubled by anything and helps her father run the magical equivalent of a tabloid magazine, whereas Harry becomes more traumatized as increasing numbers of his friends and loved ones die. Some of them right in front of him. Yet, Luna understands what losing a loved one feels like, enabling her to empathise with his grief over Sirius — and Harry knows what being picked on feels like, so he naturally wants to help her out when people hide Luna's things and mock her behind her back.
  • Moral Dissonance:
    • Harry and others are seen using the so-called Unforgivable Curses in the last book. This could be chalked up to being in a war, and using Unforgivable curses against Death Eaters was perfectly legal until in the previous war, when Barty Crouch, Sr. published a writ of Outlawry against them. However, the Cruciatus curse (which causes mind-destroying pain) is used, despite it being less practical than either a killing curse or a simple stun.
    • The way even good wizards like Arthur Weasley regard Muggles. Most wizards and witches (if they aren't Muggleborn) range from outright violence (on the Death Eater end) to a sort of paternalistic condescension (such as Arthur's case). And you can't help but be a little disturbed by the willingness to use things like Memory Charms on them to uphold The Masquerade (especially after seeing what a really strong one does to Lockhart). Not to mention there was a war going on where Muggles were the targets and even the Prime Minister was kept almost entirely in the dark.
  • Moustache de Plume: "J.K. Rowling" is a pseudonym forced upon the author, Joanne Rowling, because her publisher feared that young boys (the target audience) wouldn't read books written by a woman. Rowling didn't even have a middle name by then, so she used her grandmother's name, "Kathleen", in the pseudonym.
  • Muggles: The Trope Namer. "Muggle" is a term to refer to any non-magical person. Muggles have no idea magic is real and the wizarding governments work to keep them in the dark, both to simplify wizarding existence and to prevent war between them.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: A person who was born to magical parents but has no magical abilities themselves is known as a Squib. Notable examples include Filch (whose animosity towards the Hogwarts students is probably due to being this) and Mrs. Figg. Neville isn't one, but it took so long for his magical abilities to manifest that his family almost thought he'd be one.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: These are reasonable common in the setting. Seamus Finnigan is the result of one, and so is Lord Voldemort and Severus Snape, though Voldemort's and Snape's parents' relationships were far from healthy. Ron has this to say about this sort of romance:
    Ron: If we hadn't married Muggles we'd've died out.
  • Muggles Do It Better:
    • Never demonstrated by direct comparison due to the extreme segregation of the wizards from the general population, but the most powerful, deadly, unforgivable curse in the wizard world has roughly the lethality of a small-caliber handgun, and whatever the wizards do to feed themselves and maintain quality of life can only support a population density so low that one school with a handful of instructors can train the entire wizard population of the British Isles through every grade level at once. Even accounting for extended lifespans, that means the muggle technology overall is at minimum three orders of magnitude better than wizardry at keeping things running.
    • The wizard world also hasn't even invented fiat currency, and their economy still runs on shiny rocks. Though the author might not realize exactly how inferior that makes them.
    • Wizards also don't seem to have a method of communication as quick and easy as cell phones, or if they do, it's not shown in the books. The closest thing we see is the two-way mirror that appears at the end of Book 5, but this seems to be uncommon (it's the only one that appears in the series), and it only works between two people who each have to have one side of the mirror.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: Trelawny's prophecy about The Chosen One to defeat Lord Voldemort applied to both Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom at the time that she said it, but Voldemort himself chose Harry when he tried to kill him, which applied the final part of the prophecy to Harry only.
  • Multiple-Choice Future: It strongly implied that there is no set destiny, with various character's choices and instances on fulfilling prophecies being the catalyst for many of such prophecies in the first place. Dumbledore flat-out states that the only reason Harry Potter became Voldemort's undoing was because he believed in the prophecy that he would be defeated by him so much that his own attempts at curtailing it led to his own undoing. Because of this, Divination is considered an especially fickle skill to master given that the future is constantly in flux, Hermione Granger once describing it as "woolly" and "a lot of guesswork."
  • Mundane Utility: Several spells like Alohamora, Accio, and Reparo were initially designed for opening doors sealed by non-magical locks, summoning objects from great distances, and repairing broken objects (like glasses), respectively.
  • Mystical Plague: Lycanthropy. It's an obvious parallel to AIDS, being communicable, and causing people to have it to be discriminated against—Lupin resigns after Snape outs him.

    N 
  • Naďve Newcomer:
    • The conceit of the series, with Harry Potter as a child who is dumped into the magical world at the age of 11 without knowing a thing about it, allowed Rowling to use him as an exposition sponge to explain the Potter universe to the audience. This trope is heavily leaned on in the first book but still keeps coming up later. In the fourth book Arthur Weasley spends a chunk of narrative explaining to Harry and the audience what Portkeys are, something that later proves crucial to the book's climax.
    • Sometimes all the children, being children, are Naive Newcomers; when Moody gives his lesson on the Unforgiveable Curses in Book 4, none of the students know what they are.
    • As late as the seventh book, Ron the pureblood explains to Naive Newcomers Harry and Hermione, both raised in the Muggle world, what The Tales of Beedle the Bard is. (It's a collection of wizard fairy tales.)
  • Narm: Plenty of it in-universe, as we see practically the whole series through Harry's point of view. It gets lampshaded whenever the Dursleys have an emotional moment, usually coupled with some variant of the phrase "Harry suppressed the urge to laugh."
  • Narm Charm: Word of God confirms that In-Universe, the Quibbler is "appreciated for its unintentional humour."
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: At length. The books contain a great deal of profanity being uttered, more often than not by Ron, just filtered through a fairly tongue-in-cheek narration. To quote a few:
    • Goblet of Fire:
      The leprechauns had risen into the air again, and this time, they formed a giant hand, which was making a very rude sign indeed at the veela across the field.
      Ron told Malfoy to do something that Harry knew he would never have dared say in front of Mrs. Weasley.
    • Half-Blood Prince:
      Frustration was running high and there was a certain amount of ill-feeling towards Wilkie Twycross and his three Ds, which had inspired a number of nicknames for him, the politest of which were Dog-breath and Dung-head.
    • The seventh book, as befitting its dark themes and high body count, dispenses with this trope and employs a couple of choice Precision F Strikes.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • The Death Eaters believe in the superiority of "pure blood", and will kill anyone they feel is inferior to them. Their leader, Voldemort, hates anyone not of pure wizard blood, yet he himself is not a pureblood; Adolf Hitler viewed "Aryans," commonly portrayed as blonds with blue eyes, as the master race, yet he himself was brown-haired with brown eyes, and may have had a bit of Jewish ancestry. J.K. Rowling acknowledged the Death Eaters are supposed to represent the Nazis. In the fourth movie, they're also symbolized as Klansmen—check out the KKK-inspired headgear, torches and "burning signal".
    • And that's not even getting into the seventh book, for most of which the Power Trio are on the run in one of the most blatant parallels of Nazi-occupied Europe ever seen. The Ministry of Magic has become so corrupted from the inside by Les Collaborateurs that they essentially pass the Nuremberg Laws against Muggle-born wizards, and under the guidance of Umbridge are shown creating pamphlets touting purity of blood whose content and saccharine covers call to mind the publications of Julius Streicher. The various Death Eater minions inside the Ministry are dressed in khaki clothes, with red, white, and black armbands bearing the Dark Mark. The sign of the Deathly Hallows has a history very similar to that of the swastika, as well—originally an innocent symbol, then used by wizard-supremacist Grindelwald, etched on walls by stupid pricks to get attention...
    • Naturally, Grindelwald was defeated in 1945, of all years, and was banged up in a prison called Nurmengard (which sounds like Nuremberg, and has the very "Arbeit macht frei"-like slogan "For the Greater Good" carved over the gate). Fans have used this to speculate on whether Grindelwald actually had something to do with the rise of the Nazis themselves. Also, a lunatic, old loner as the last inmate of an incredibly guarded prison? That sounds like Rudolf Hess.
      • Regardless, the possibility of a task force of wizards and muggles contributing to the Allied victory over the Nazis is invoked in-universe.
    • Polish translation of Deathly Hallows explicitly calls those who hunt muggleborns and La Résistance for profit szmalcownicy. Real Life szmalcownicy sold hiding Jews to the Nazis during The War. Said Snatchers can also be compared to the Einsatzgruppen that hunted Jews, inter alia, in occupied Europe.
    • One of the books Hermione the know-it-all occasionally mentions, namely the history of dark magic, is called The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts. This is an obvious Shout-Out to William Shirer's all-time classic history of Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
  • Near-Death Experience: The effect of multiple magical curses/charms takes Harry about as near death as anyone can go without actually dying. Being the only person to ever survive the Killing Curse twice is actually part of what makes him famous in the wizarding world, causing many to refer to him as "The Boy-Who-Lived".
  • Nemesis Weapon: Harry's wand is one of two which share cores from the same phoenix. Whereas his is made of holly, a wood well-suited to his dangerous life, its brother, which went to Voldemort, is made of yew, a supreme material for Dark Magic. The connection between the wands makes them almost unable to defeat each other, and every showdown between Harry and Voldemort using them ends in a draw. Voldemort catches on to this late in the series and starts looking for a more powerful wand.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: This trope pops up more than once.
    • Severus Snape is a sly, abusive teacher who has a clear affinity for the Dark Arts throughout Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It turns out that Snape is not only not the antagonist, he is actively protecting Harry from the antagonist.
    • Draco Malfoy is a schoolyard bully who vocally supports the actions of the mysterious Heir of Slytherin in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry and co. spend months investigating the connection between the two, but it becomes obvious Draco has nothing to do with the Heir.
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sees Harry suspect Snape and Malfoy yet again, this time of hatching several failed assassination plots from within Hogwarts. By this point, Harry's friends and allies attribute his suspicion to his dislike for both people. As it turns out, Harry is completely right about both, even if their situations are much more complex than Harry assumed.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: On a storytelling level. The spells that appear in the series are introduced as the characters fall into their skill level, and we don't see many of them in use and unidentified in the early books.
    • More generally new magic systems are introduced as the plot demands. From Books 1-5, magic fights had consistency among the adult and teenage fights we see on-screen. It involved Calling Your Attacks, and pointing the wand at a target and using it tactically, defensively and strategically, with duels being about timing, defense and careful offense. Book 6 introduced wordless magic (i.e. non-verbal spells) which we had seen bits off, but was presented in Book 6 as advanced spell work, and we see offensive legilimency, which we see both being used tactically in a duel (between Snape and Harry and then never again by either Voldemort or any other Death Eater or anyone else in the Order).
    • Book 7 likewise introduces entirely new principles of wizard combat, with the idea being introduced that disarming your opponent can transfer the allegiance of the opponent's wand to the new master. This had never been introduced before this book and it's more or less crucial to how Harry defeats Voldemort in the end, but it's a system that only really gets explained more than half the way into Book 7.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • At one point in Half Blood Prince, we see inside the memories of a Ministry official who was responsible for the arrest of a father and son who abused the daughter of the family, enabling her to go after the Muggle love of her life. All very well, right? Well, there's just one teensy-weensy problem — said daughter happens to go on to become the mother of the most evil and maniacal wizard this century.
    • Also in Half-Blood Prince, we learn R.A.B. stole a Plot Coupon and replaced it with a fake and a taunting note, which forces the main characters to find it again later because R.A.B. didn't manage to destroy it. Especially annoying because of the circumstances of pointlessly gaining the fake.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Voldemort's killing of Lily Potter was his downfall. By choosing to kill her when she wouldn't step aside, he lost his powers and physical body, created a new nemesis in Harry with the power to kill him and lost the loyalty of Snape. If he had simply stunned her, he could have killed Harry with no harm to himself and handed the unconscious Lily over to Snape and would have effectively won.
  • No Eye in Magic: Some of the spells in the series are like this.
    • In Book 1, the main villain puts a spell on Harry's broom during a Quidditch game in an attempt to make him fall off and drop to his death. Hermione stops the spell by creating a fire, which startles him into breaking eye contact with Harry.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, the basilisk can kill someone just by looking them in the eye — fortunately, the only people we see who have encountered it manage to not quite look it in the eye: they see it in a reflection, or through a camera lens, or through a ghost, so it doesn't quite kill them.
    • There is also Legilimency, the ability to extract emotions and memories from a person's mind, which usually works via eye-to-eye contact. Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort are expert Legilimens, and scattered through the series (even before we know what Legilimency is) we can find instances where Harry feels that they can "read his mind." Almost a "missed" example, but once or twice, Harry does look away from their gaze; initially, the reader would just assume he felt uncomfortable under scrutiny — now we know better.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Rowling modeled the Black Family on the famous Mitford sisters:
    • Bellatrix Lestrange's fanatical devotion to Voldemort is based on Unity Valkyrie Mitford who was obssessed with Adolf Hitler and socialized in his circle in the 30s and was believed to have tried to attract the generally asexual Hitler, and was in Berlin when Hitler declared war on Britain, and was so broken that she tried to commit suicide, failed and sent back to England where she was committed to an asylum.
    • Narcissa Malfoy is based on Diana Mitford who married Oswald Mosley of the British Union of Fascists (a marriage with Hitler and Goebbels as witnesses).
    • Andromeda Tonks and Sirius Black are based on Jessica Mitford (one of Rowling's heroes), the family White Sheep who ran away from them to fight in the Spanish Civil War and became a lifelong leftist.
  • No More Lies: Eventually, Dumbledore realizes that hiding the truth from Harry will only hurt him in the end and tells him about Voldemort, such as he knows.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Unless a spell is specified to be permanent, it will expire with the caster's death. (This apparently does not apply to permanent curse-caused physical or mental damage.)
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Hogwarts is a rather dangerous place for kids. You would think that the parents would protest more often, but the only protests we ever see are when the Chamber of Secrets is opened and after a Wounded Gazelle Gambit by Malfoy in Prisoner of Azkaban.
    • In the usual course of things, there is only a little bit of danger (like the third corridor in our Power Trio's first year), but when it gets really bad (like when the Chamber of Secrets opens, or during book 6 when Voldy is back) parents yank their kids out of school. (Ironically, once Voldemort shows up in Hogwarts in person, he waxes philosophical about his love for the place and offers the students a chance to go unharmed.)
    • The Hogwarts Potions class doesn't have fume hoods over the cauldrons, nor does it require that the students wear goggles or gloves while brewing.
    • The Department of Mysteries, which is full of weird death traps.
    • The Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, an official event staged by the Ministry of Magic and held at Hogwarts, despite the fact that there is a non-zero chance it could get teenaged wizards killed—the first task is getting past a dragon!
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Several In-Universe examples:
    • In Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart is very happy when a fight breaks out at a book signing for his latest book.
    • And then averted later in the series when the Daily Prophet, Wizarding England's primary newspaper, does a massive (and successful) smear campaign on Harry and Dumbledore.
    • Played straight in the fifth book, wherein the Ministry of Magic's propaganda campaign against Harry's story that Voldemort has returned is reversed when Umbridge bans a copy of The Quibbler that tells Harry's story about his encounter with Voldemort. The issue is then sold out and must be reprinted due to curiosity about why it was banned.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood:
    • Severus Snape. He's clearly a Jerkass, particularly to Harry, and the main trio are convinced he's a villain, yet it turns out he loved Harry's mother and was actually a Double Agent spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore, which ultimately cost him his life.
    • Slytherin House in general. invokedJ.K. Rowling has stated that not all Slytherins are bad people, and specifically introduced Horace Slughorn to show that.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Voldemort was presumed dead after his failed attack on the infant Harry and subsequent disappearance. It turns out his soul survived thanks to his horcruxes.
    • At one point Harry himself is assumed to be dead and goes into a kind of limbo afterlife, before returning back to life.
  • No True Scotsman: The pureblood bigots are of the opinion that anyone who isn't a pureblood is inferior. Those purebloods who disagree are "blood traitors," i.e. not "true" purebloods.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Detentions at Hogwarts often involve dangerous tasks, such as searching for an injured unicorn (running into whatever hurt it, and possibly needing to deliver a Mercy Kill) in the Forbidden Forest. Then there's the Umbridge/Carrows version of detention, which involves Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Zigzagged - in the books, reanimated bodies are called Inferi. However, according to Pottermore, zombies actually do exist in the Potterverse, the primary difference being that, while Inferi can be enchanted to do one's bidding, zombies are merely mindless, shambling corpses.
  • Not What I Signed Up For: Draco Malfoy. For the first five books of the series he is a sneering, arrogant little shit, and a racist as well, taking delight in calling Hermione a "Mudblood". But in Half-Blood Prince when he's tasked with actually murdering Albus Dumbledore, it's clearly too much for Draco. Harry catches him crying in the girls' toilet and pouring out his troubles to Moaning Myrtle. At the end, despite his bluster he can't pull the trigger on Dumbledore, physically shaking and actually lowering his wand just as Snape barges in and thrusts him aside. It's strongly implied that Draco lies when he says he can't positively ID Harry at Malfoy Manor in Deathly Hallows. Draco never makes a Heel–Face Turn, possibly because he's in too deep, and in fact he's in the Room of Requirement trying to catch Harry at the end, but he's also screaming "DON'T KILL HIM!" to Crabbe. The epilogue and Draco's "curt nod" to Harry imply that if they never managed to actually become friends, they were at least past their antagonism for each other.
  • The Noun Who Verbed:
    • Harry is often called "The Boy-Who-Lived" as he was the only one to ever survive the Killing Curse or Voldemort.
    • Lord Voldemort is often referred to as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "You-Know-Who", as people are afraid that speaking his name might summon him. In the last book, he puts a "taboo" on his name such that everyone who speaks it can be located and protections around them fail, exploiting the fear (because only his enemies would call him Voldemort) and also making it justified.
  • Numerological Motif
    • Sevens: seven years, seven novels, seven subjects (to start with), seven Horcruxes, seven players on a Quidditch team, Harry and Neville being born in the seventh month, seven Weasley children. The dedication for the seventh book is "split seven ways".
    • Nine and three-quarters: King's Cross platform; length of school year in months (Sept 1-late June); Harry's exile from the wizarding world in years (1 Nov 1981-31 July 1991)
    • Twelves: twelve subjects offered at Hogwarts (Charms, Transfiguration, History of Magic, Defense Against Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, Astronomy; Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, Muggle Studies, Runes, Arithmancy), twelve-a-side in the Dept. of Mysteries. Twelve uses of dragon blood.
    • Primes: 17 sickles to the galleon, 29 knuts to the sickle, and of course all the sevens above.

    O 
  • Oddly Common Rarity: Hermione says there were only seven Animagi registered with the Ministry during the entire century, but the trio encounters two unregistered Animagi within two yearsnote , and another within five years, which strongly implies that it is rather easy to conceal the ability, and the actual rarity is for the Animagi to be registered. Hermione is just law-obsessed and forgets that laws don't mean crap if they can't be enforced. It wouldn't be terribly surprising to find out it is the Wizarding equivalent of speeding.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Played for Laughs with Ron and Hermione before they actually start going out. Played Straight with Harry and Cho (a mild version), Lupin and Tonks, and Snape and Lily.
  • Offstage Villainy:
    • We hear Neville's accounts of the abuse the Carrows have been dishing out to students during his seventh year, but never actually see any of it.
    • Dolores Umbridge, arguably the most evil non-Death Eater villain in the series, is seen threatening a few characters with the Cruciatus Curse and the Dementor's Kiss, but whether she ever actually subjects anyone to these things remains unknown.
  • Older Is Better: The series' best magics and artifacts can generally be assumed to be ancient.
  • Old Money: The Malfoys, being the series's most visible Blue Bloods, have also been fabulously rich for generations and have connections in the highest echelons of government, business, and high society. It's also implied that James Potter was Old Money, having descended from wizarding blue blood like the Peverells and having left his son a huge pile of gold in Gringott's.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Killing Curse shoots a green light that immediately extinguishes the life of anyone caught in it.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Tom Riddle/Voldemort's father was also called Tom Riddle. A Bit Character, Tom the bartender at the Leaky Cauldron, also shares the name and, in a scene invoking this trope, a young Tom Riddle is disappointed to hear that they share the common and unremarkable name.
    • Harry names his children James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter and Lily Luna Potter.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Far too much. Mainly between Harry and Voldemort.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Until Dumbledore calls him "Alastor", it doesn't occur to Harry that "Mad-Eye" isn't Moody's first name.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Gryffindors and Slytherins need a password to gain entry into their residences. Hufflepuff has similar security (namely tapping one of the barrels against a wall near the kitchens to the rhythm of "Helga Hufflepuff"), but we never see it. Ravenclaw has a different arrangement, see the trope below.
  • Only Sane Man: Hermione tends to come across as this, sometimes due to Values Dissonance between Muggles and wizards.
  • Only Smart People May Pass:
    • Ravenclaw Tower uses riddles instead of simple passwords before allowing students entry.
    • In the first book, the safeguard that Snape creates for the Philosopher's Stone entails solving a logic puzzle.
  • Only the Chosen May Ride: Hippogriffs choose whom they will allow to ride them. As Malfoy finds out, insulting one is a good way to get sent to the hospital.
  • The Order: The Order of the Phoenix, introduced in... Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The Death Eaters also count as an evil example.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: The Forbidden Forest is home to a herd of centaurs, who take pride in their detachment from human affairs and would rather examine the stars than get involved.
  • Our Dwarves Are Different: They're present, but mostly as background colour (much like vampires). In the second book, Lockhart somehow gets a bunch of dwarves to act as "cupids" on Valentine's Day. It's a toss-up who's less happy, the dwarves or the students.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies and pixies are generally viewed as household pests, and their excellent Muggle press is a source of some confusion to wizards.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Only witches and wizards can become ghosts, and even then they have the choice to either "go on" (presumably this means to move on to the afterlife) or remain as ghosts in a "feeble imitation of life", as Nick puts it in Order of the Phoenix.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Voldemort is a pretty straightforward example. He split his soul into 7 pieces with successive murders, and stored each one inside a Horcrux. When his Killing Curse backfired and killed him, he remained stuck in the mortal world as "less than a ghost," yet unable to die. Eventually, one of his followers helps him to create a new body (although whatever he then becomes, it is doubtful it can truly be called human), and he gets back in business.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves here are forced to undergo Involuntary Shapeshifting every full moon, and The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body if he hasn't taken a Wolfsbane potion. Due to this affliction, even civilized werewolves are despised by the wizarding populace and most are forced to join werewolf communities, which are generally poor and somewhat feral.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're apparently accepted enough by wizard society for sweet shops to stock blood-flavoured lollipops. One gets invited to a Hogwarts party.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Justified because Inferi is taken from the Latin word for "Dead people". Much like classic zombies they are slaves to a master, unlike the George Romero flesh-eating version.
  • Out Numbered Sibling: Ginny is the only girl in a family with seven children.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: According to their O.W.L. scores, both Harry and Ron are competent at their subjects (with several "Exceeds Expectations" in the core classes, plus one "Outstanding" for Harry in Defense Against the Dark Arts), but they're both overshadowed by Hermione (who got a lone "E" for Defense, and "Outstanding" for all the other classes she attended).
  • Overzealous Underling: After Fudge orders the Daily Prophet to libel Harry as a delusional attention seeker for claiming that Voldemort returned, Umbridge takes it on herself to ensure his silence by siccing Dementors on him. While Fudge is later forced to admit that Voldemort is back, having seen him with his own eyes, she isn't punished for this, staying with the Ministry until she is finally sent off to Azkaban after Voldemort's defeat.

    P 
  • Panacea: The bezoar is an imperfect one, but it will save you if you've been poisoned. Unicorn blood will fix you at the cost of being cursed. Phoenix tears seem to work on anything with no catch.
  • Parental Substitute: The Dursleys are a bad version of this, even though they are the only ones who can truly protect Harry from Voldemort, because living with Petunia and Dudley, his only relatives who share his mother's blood, renews Lily's protection spell every year until Harry comes of age. The Weasleys, Sirius, and Lupin do a better job.
  • Patricide: Several instances in the series:
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we learn that Voldemort murdered his father and grandparents as soon as he discovered they were Muggles, and not the Wizards he imagined.
    • At the end of the same book, we learn that Barty Crouch, Jr. murdered his father. Then transfigured his body into a bone and buried it. Barty makes much of how both he and Voldemort had very disappointing fathers and the pleasure of killing those fathers. He also seems to regard Voldemort as a father substitute.
    • Also, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows we have a rare case of Matricide when it's revealed that Ariana Dumbledore accidentally killed her mother Kendra.
  • Pet Monstrosity: Caring for magical beasts, the more dangerous the better, is Hagrid's most cherished pastime. He has owned acromantulas, Hippogriffs, Blast-Ended Skrewts, a Hellhound, thestrals, and a dragon, among others.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Somewhat in the earlier books. This has been parodied to no end, with one work replacing Harry with a literal inanimate object.
    • Some fans actually joke that Hermione should have been the protagonist, as for the first few novels she's the one who does the most stuff.
  • Plot Armor: The trio has it in spades. The other characters do not, which is driven home quite strongly in the last book.
  • The Pollyanna: Luna probably suffers more at the hands of her classmates than Harry does, but never complains or shows any signs of self-pity or even annoyance.
  • Playful Otter: Hermione's Patronus.
  • Plot Coupons: Quite a few, most notably the Horcruxes.
  • Plot-Induced Illness: The Weasley twins develop a range of sweets that make one ill and test them on fellow students. Hermione is unamused and shuts them down. Well, tries to, anyway.
  • Police Are Useless: The Ministry of Magic proves to be very ineffectual throughout the entire series, and often get in the way of the heroes. This is exemplified best when Voldemort returns and they refuse to acknowledge that he's back, instead choosing to antagonize Harry and Hogwarts. Voldemort even keeps them around because they are more helpful than detrimental to him.
  • Portal Cut: Apparition done poorly results in "splinching." This is where a person attempts to Apparate, but leaves a part of him- or herself behind. Not in a comical bloodless way, but in a "neatly sliced off" kind of way. Wizard healing is such that these kinds of injuries are curable within a day or two, but that leads to splinching being played almost as light comedy — until it happens to Ron in the last book, and nearly kills him.
  • The Power of Friendship: Emphasized as extremely important throughout the series, which is one of the most strongly-played examples of this trope.
  • Power Of Hate:
    • The power of hate is explicitly said to be why Dumbledore is considered weaker (technically) than Voldemort. Voldemort, being fueled by hate, is willing to use Black Magic like horcruxes or curses. Dumbledore doesn't because he's still sane enough to realize the cost of such power.
    • The first time Harry attempts an Unforgivable Curse against Bellatrix Lestrange, she brushes it off fairly quickly and tells him that righteous anger won't fuel an Unforgivable as well as genuine malice. ("You have to mean them!")
    • This is also what drove Sirius Black out of Azkaban. Dementors could take out happiness, but hate gave him direction while knowing that he was innocent kept him sane.
  • The Power of Love: Alluded to throughout the series. It can protect a loved one from deadly curses and block mental magic.
  • Power Trio:
    • Harry (ego), Ron (id), and Hermione (superego).
    • And the secondary trio consisting of Neville (ego), Ginny (id), and Luna (superego).
  • Pragmatic Villain: Slytherins are repeatedly described as being cunning.
    • An alternate interpretation of the declaration to hand Harry over to Voldemort in the last novel is that they are simply pointing out that there is no sense in everyone dying in order to protect Harry, when he's the only thing that Voldemort actually cares about.
    • The Slytherins all left before the final battle. However, we later find out that a significant number of them led by Slughorn actually did this in order to reach Hogsmeade and raise the alarm, before coming back with reinforcements. (There is debate as to whether this really counts, as Rowling only mentions it in an interview, and it is never hinted at in the books. In fact, Voldemort says that "all" the Slytherins joined him. In the actual text, the only Slytherin seen fighting with the good guys is Slughorn.)
  • Pre-Meeting: In the first five books, Harry always meets (or at least hears about) his new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher before school starts. And he already knew the sixth.
  • Previously On: Chapter 1 (sometimes 2) is always a recap of "the story so far" for the benefit of new readers. Rowling stopped doing it after book five, figuring that people stupid enough to start a book series in the middle deserved to get confused.
  • Projectile Spell: Most spells seem to follow this trope. Even Avada Kedavra, which ignores any overtly magical shield, can be dodged or hindered by a suitably solid object.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Toyed with and inverted multiple times (see Because Destiny Says So), but ultimately played straight. Although the Divination teacher Professor Trewlawney is usually portrayed as a massive fraud, shockingly, every genuine prophecy she makes throughout the series turns out to be (at least somewhat) correct.

    She only made two known real predictions in the books, though, which makes it hilarious when even her random mystical BS turns out to be true (like Lavender's rabbit dying, a student leaving her class, or Umbridge being in great danger). She's also always predicting Harry's early demise. Nobody ever believes her. He dies in Book 7 at age 17. He does come back to life, of course.
  • Prophetic Names: Quite a few of the characters' names reflect some gained personality quirk or their adult job description, but no one ever remarks on this oddity. The allusions range from the blindingly obvious (a werewolf named Remus "lupine" Lupin) to the Genius Bonus-worthy (Voldemort's ruthless female fighter and lieutenant is named Bellatrix "the Amazon warrior star" Lestrange).
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The so-called "Unforgivable Curses" are introduced in Book Four, wherein it's said casting one of them even once is a life-sentence in Azkaban. By Book Seven even the heroes are casting them with abandon, including the Cruciatus Curse, where you need to enjoy inflicting pain in order for it to work.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Occlumency is a whole discipline dedicated to this.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Some of the Death Eaters qualify as this, as many, if not all of them, were students at Hogwarts during either Dumbledore's time as a transfiguration teacher or from when he was headmaster. Snape and Sirius are subversions though, as Snape performed a Heel–Face Turn after Lily's life was in danger, and Sirius was a Red Herring for Peter Pettigrew.
  • Put on a Bus: The story is set at a boarding school and features students from every year, meaning that at the end of every book characters graduate and stop hanging around Hogwarts. With the exception of Percy, Fred and George, who Harry sees during summer and winter breaks, graduated characters usually aren't seen again outside of cameos.

    R 
  • Raised by Humans: Hagrid tries to raise Norbert(a). It doesn't work.
  • Randomly Gifted: Being a wizard can run in families but also sometimes manifests in muggles, and magicless squibs can be born to wizards.
    • Subverted in a 2007 interview where Rowling reveals that all muggleborns have a squib- and thus witches and wizards- somewhere in their ancestry.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: At one point during his childhood, Harry's aunt cut off his bangs, almost shaving him except for the part that hides his scar. It looked ridiculous, but magically grew back before Harry's next school day.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Wizards live longer than Muggles. (Although members of the Black family seem to die relatively young.) It's implied that there are so few pure-blood wizards left that keeping the pure-blood line alive might have required some inbreeding somewhere along the line. That might have shortened the lifespan a bit.
    • Nicolas Flamel and his wife, through the use of the Philosopher's Stone, reached the ages of around 665 and 658, respectively.
  • Red Herring: The first four books each haveat least one:
  • Red Herring Mole: Snape, who is actually a Double Agent and then a Reverse Mole.
  • Red Is Heroic: Red is one of the colors of Gryffindor, the Hogwarts House of the protagonists.
  • Reinventing the Telephone: Floo powder, patronuses (patroni?)...
  • La Résistance: Dumbledore's Army, against the Ministry's interference at Hogwarts in Order of the Phoenix; Potterwatch and the Order of the Phoenix, against Voldemort's regime.
  • Retcon: There are several details in the earlier books that were conspicuously changed for the later books; presumably, Rowling hadn't thought up certain events that far in advance. One example is a mention of "werewolf cubs" in Chamber of Secrets. In Prisoner of Azkaban, we learn that werewolves are humans who become werewolves after they're bitten by one. Voldemort refers to "cubs" in Deathly Hallows in a way clearly intended to be offensive and not factual, so this likely stems from wizarding society's ignorance and fear of werewolves.
  • Renowned Selective Mentor: Harry has a much closer relationship with the headmaster, Dumbledore, than is usual for a student, to the point of the Professor being almost a surrogate (grand)father. In the sixth book Dumbledore even gives him special lessons.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: A snake is the motif for Slytherin House, the unpopular, "evil" house at Hogwarts, and for the Death Eaters. In Book 2, Harry fights a giant venomous snake. Voldemort has obvious reptilian features and a Right Hand Attack Snake named Nagini, who goes out to do his dirty work and is one of his spirit vessels. Speaking Parseltongue is considered a mark of the Dark Arts. The only time snakes are ever portrayed in a truly sympathetic light is the incident with the harassed boa constrictor in Book 1. However, after the fall of the Death Eaters, the snake is no longer an evil motif and plays the same role of symbolism for Slytherin House as the lion, eagle and badger do for the other Houses.
  • Rich Bitch: The Malfoys. Mostly Draco, particularly in his interactions with the Weasleys.
  • The Rival: Harry vs. Draco; James vs. Snape. Sirius later takes up James's position after his death.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Happens several times in the books.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, both Harry and Ron go after Ginny Weasley when they learn that she's been dragged off to the Chamber of Secrets.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Harry has a vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius at the Department of Mysteries, he immediately runs off to go rescue him.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix immediately after Sirius Black is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry is so overcome by grief that he pursues Bellatrix and says he's going to kill her, and he even tries to use the Cruciatus Curse on her. However, the duel between them is interrupted by Lord Voldemort's arrival and Bellatrix's subsequent escape.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Wizards who are inexperienced in blending in with Muggles will often end up as this. One wizard is mentioned as wearing a kilt and a poncho together, of all things.
  • Running Gag: A few which span most of the series.
    • Harry and Ron never bothering to read Hogwarts: A History and Hermione's indignant responses.
    • Hermione figuring something out and running off to deal with it without adequately explaining to Harry and Ron what's going on, and Ron's indignant response (usually a Lampshade Hanging).
    • Hermione running off to the library in general, which gets tons of lampshades and humorous references in the later books even when she's not actually doing it.
    • The Dursleys humorously coming off worst when interacting with wizards, not that they don't deserve it. Becomes not-so-funny in and after the fifth book, though Dumbledore has a bit of fun with them before getting serious in the sixth.
    • Harry having incredibly ridiculous dreams, with different aspects of his life zanily mashed together in one absurd package, which he naturally never remembers when he wakes up. Leads to Mood Whiplash in the fifth book when one such dream suddenly segues into a terrifying vision.
    • Ron unintentionally offending Nearly Headless Nick with some tactless remark during the feast at the beginning of every year. Nick lampshades it in Half Blood Prince.
    • When the discussion is about Snape, and it involves adults and Harry, expect Harry to call him Snape, and the adult to respond with "Professor Snape."
    • Tiny Professor Flitwick seems to get knocked down and/or tossed across a classroom by a student's miscast Charm roughly once per school year.
    • Arthur Weasley's obsession with Muggle tools/technology
    • Hagrid's bone-crushing hugs
    • After the introduction of Luna Lovegood, fictitious beasts called crumple-horned snorkacks become one. Luna really believes in the existence of these creatures because her dad is the publisher of The Quibbler, a satirical tabloid that regularly publishes stories about the non-existent creatures. Other characters regularly joke about this, and Luna herself gets defensive, claiming they actually do exist. Oddly enough, this actually gets subverted in the seventh book, when a character comments that there wasn't any mention of the creatures in the latest issue of the magazine, because Luna's dad is publishing real stories about the resistance now.
    • Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts are a running joke since Goblet of Fire.

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