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     Fridge Brilliance 
  • The Dursleys don't notice an owl flying past the window on the morning after the deaths of James and Lily. At the time, it just seems to be adding to the atmosphere of strangeness, but after Order of the Phoenix, it becomes apparent that this owl was most likely delivering a message to Mrs. Figg.
  • Vernon encounters a number of wizard and witches wearing robes in broad daylight during the celebrations of Voldemort's defeat. One of them is wearing emerald-green robes, possibly representing Slytherin. It's subtle, but it's a tiny hint that not all Slytherins are bad.
  • Harry has dreams about being in the flying motorcycle, but he was an infant at the time, too young to have memories of the occasion. It's more likely that the memory actually belongs to Voldemort's Horcrux.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ronan the Centaur is angry at Firenze for saving Harry from Quirrell/Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, as it goes against the stars' foretelling. Harry is destined to be killed by Voldemort in the forest, but not until 6 years later.
  • Everyone at first thinks Quirrell's stuttering and turban come from a bad encounter with a Vampire in Albania. He did indeed have a bad encounter, but with Voldemort, so it appears this rumor was false, but Voldemort makes Quirrell drink (unicorn) blood on his behalf.
    • Quirrell tries to say his turban was a reward for ridding an african prince of a troublesome zombie. However, as Pottermore explains, zombies are mostly reported in the states - so people have a reason to ask him how he did it. But! Zombies actually have been in African-related legends, so perhaps he did do his research?
  • When asked what's going on, all the centaurs say is that Mars is particularly bright. Four books later, Firenze explains in a Divination Class that Mars signals war. The Centaurs were telling the wizards that a War was coming!
  • Ronan also says "Always the innocent are the first victims." The first person to die in the second war was Cedric Diggory, a friendly, easygoing kid who'd never hurt anyone. It is also revealed by Word of God that Quirrell did not intend to serve Voldemort. He wanted to determine if Voldemort was alive (and if need be defeat him). Unfortunately he found Voldemort and was forcibly taken over against his will, essentially dying from that encounter and from then on being controlled by our Big Bad. He was also the first innocent victim of Voldy's return to power.
  • The sorting hat tells Harry that he could be great in Slytherin. In other words, it was trying to appeal to Harry's ambition. That's a clever way to see if someone should be in Slytherin. And Harry showed courage by asking the hat not to put him in Slytherin.
    • Harry had a soul fragment of Voldemort's inside him; it may have affected Harry's mind and what the sorting hat saw in it, making Harry appear a better candidate for Slytherin that he might have otherwise. The conversation between Harry and the hat was the uncorrupted portion of Harry's mind winning out over the soul fragment and Harry willing his way into Gryffindor. It's another example of what Dumbledore said about how our choices show more of who we are than do our abilities.
  • When Scabbers (who is actually Pettigrew, though we don't know that til PoA) bites Goyle in the scene on the train—Harry and Ron are on the verge of fighting them because, in part, Malfoy insulted Harry's parents.
  • Ron's attempt to turn Scabbers yellow didn't just fail because it wasn't a very good spell, but because it specified a rat as its target, and Scabbers isn't really a rat. Or stupid, for that matter.
  • When Dumbledore commends Neville Longbottom for trying to stop the Trio, he comments that while it takes courage to stand up to one's enemies, it takes a great deal more to stand up to one's friends. At the time it seemed like he was merely ensuring that Gryffindor would win the house cup. However in the last book that we find out that Dumbledore's greatest regret was not standing up to his friend Grindelwald earlier, which caused the death of his younger sister, and his eventual rise to power. He's not just making sure Gryffindor will win the cup - he's rewarding Neville for succeeding where he himself had failed.
  • In the shack on the island where Vernon takes the Dursleys, Harry asks Hagrid what happened to Voldemort. Hagrid's response: "Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die." That's exactly what happens: Voldemort doesn't die because only a bare fraction of his soul is in his body at the time.
  • Near the end of this book, when Harry is trying to convince Hermione and Ron to break school rules to save the Stone, Harry tells them that this is more important than school rules: "Haven't you heard what it was like when he was taking over? There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He'll either flatten it or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts!" Not at all like what Voldemort tried to do in Deathly Hallows...
  • Just a small thing, but in the holidays, Fred and George charm snowballs to bounce off the back of Quirrel's turban. At the end of the book, it is revealed that Voldemort's face is on the back of Quirrel's head, under his turban. So the twins snowballs were hitting Voldemort! THIS MUST BE A CROWNING MOMENT OF FUNNY!
  • When Harry first feels pain in his scar, it's when he takes a good look at Snape up at the teachers' table during the opening-day feast. What's Snape doing when Harry sees him? Talking face-to-face with Quirrell, which means that the back of Quirrell's head must've been turned towards Harry at the time. The pain wasn't because he'd seen Snape, but because Voldemort was glaring at Harry from under the turban!
  • Dumbledore explains to Harry at the end of the book that Harry's father and Snape "detested each other. Not unlike yourself and Mr. Malfoy." At the time, we, along with Harry, envision James as Harry's own righteous counterpart to Snape's Malfoy-like supremacist bullying. Book 5 makes us realize that it was James who was the prejudiced, over-privileged brat picking on Snape, who was a neglected, ostracized loner. Book 7 cements the parallel when James says to Sirius much the same thing Draco did upon meeting Harry "Imagine being in Slytherin/Hufflepuff! I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?". (This is not to say that Snape wasn't a power-hungry git who made the wrong choices or that James didn't eventually mature and become a good man. It simply underlines how ideology isn't the only thing that makes you good or bad; it's also about personal ethics and compassion.)
  • Malfoy's comment about Hufflepuff wasn't just a shot at the House's unspectacular reputation; you'd think that Gryffindor, given its longtime rivalry with Slytherin, would be the House that Malfoy mentioned. But consider that Helga Hufflepuff was implied to be the founder that cared least about blood status and was accepting of everyone - which is the diametric opposite of Malfoy's pro-pureblood, elitist line of thinking.
  • Hagrid arrives on Sirius's motorbike at the beginning. Well, why did Sirius give him the motorbike? Probably because, as revealed in Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius was planning on confronting Peter, and expected to end up either dead or in prison.
  • At first the protections guarding the stone seem to be only OK, if they were able to be beaten by three first years. Until you realize it took THREE first years. Each challenge was difficult, but was also set for a specific skill set. The flying keys was designed for someone with quite a bit of athletic skills, while the potions needed someone good at riddles. The troll needed someone who was good at defensive spells, while a chess master has a different set of skills and way of looking at things than some who studies a lot. Even Deadly Snare needed someone was good in Herbology or who reads a lot. It's not the individual tasks were hard, but that the chances of one person being an extremely athletic, logical, strategist who was well read and good at defensive spells is highly improbable. Even for three very different wizards, two of the tasks had to already be taken care of them for them (the troll and Fluffy), it still was a challenge. No wonder it took Quirrel all year to figure out how to get past all of them. And because of this multilayered protection, it almost dictated that, barring a wizard equal to the power of Voldemort himself, it would have required a team of people to reach the Mirror of Erised - and more than likely, a team of people willing to sacrifice their chance at the Stone so one person could move forward. (And given that this stone produces instant riches and immortality, good luck with that.) And of course, Dumbledore's final protection was that only someone who only wanted to find the stone - "find it, but not use it" - would be able to get it. (Which pretty much disqualifies 99.99% looking for the Stone.) One could argue that Harry nearly screwed up the plan, because if Dumbledore's words held true, Quirrelmort would have likely just stood there in front of the Mirror for a long time looking stupid if Harry hadn't shown up and willed the Stone to drop right into his pocket.
    • Better yet, consider that when Harry saw the Mirror earlier in the book, he saw his family in it, and Dumbledore knew that. It's quite possible that Dumbledore expected Harry to once again see his family instead of getting the Stone, thus leaving it safely beyond Voldemort's reach.
  • How hard were the challenges supposed to be? As has been noted, the trio were able to pass because the three of them combined had a vast skillset, while the last challenge could grant passage to no more than two people, avoiding that issue, so it'd have made more sense if it was right after Fluffy, instead of right before the mirror, which could imply that it the protections were not set to maximum efficiency. However, when you think about it, the mirror really was all the protection the stone needed. However, it also is the only one testing hearts instead of skills. The true purpose of the other traps isn't to actually stop the intruder, but to set expectations about what will be tested. Basically, they are a quite long and extremely intricate bait&switch.
  • The protections on the Stone also provide a sort of retroactive foreshadowing for who the villain is. Quirrell tells Harry that "there is no good and evil- there is only power, and those too weak to seek it." This clearly points to a personal philosophy of 'power and nothing else.' All but one of the traps do not test sheer magical strength- The Devil's Snare required knowledge of Herbology and the ability to keep one's head in a crisis (and was eventually solved by a simple fire spell), the keys required skill at flying and teamwork, the chess set required strategical knowledge and willingness to make sacrifices, and the potion room is explicitly stated to be a test of logic, instead of magic. What is the only test that appears to be a contest of sheer strength (so much so that Harry and company were lucky they didn't have to fight it) and was probably beaten using sheer strength? Quirrell's troll!
  • The 'it unscrews the other way' scene in Order of the Phoenix isn't an isolated incident of McGonagall bending the rules. It may be a long-buried desire, and we've seen it before. After all, she saved the reputation of her house's Quidditch team by recruiting a first-year who showed off his skill by recklessly breaking the rules. It wasn't even clear what she was doing at the time, and by the time Harry fully realized what had happened, he probably never made the connection (and, most likely, neither did most readers). She may have even taken deliberate advantage of Harry's lack of knowledge to keep the connection from being properly made.
  • A little analysis shows how incredibly badass Ron's chess game was. He's playing with a knight, bishop and rook that he's trying not to lose or even exchange. That's a massive handicap to his strategy, especially after the opening when the game starts getting unpredictable. (He lasts until the endgame before sacrificing himself.) Quirrell had only one fragile piece to worry about. So Ron didn't just win with a handicap, he beat greater odds than Quirrell.
  • When Harry confronts Quirrell in the Mirror's chamber, Quirrell has the remaining fragment of Voldemort physically bonded to the back of his head. In book 7, we find out that Harry himself also has a torn-off fragment of Voldemort attached to him, mystically bonded to his soul, as demonstrated by the scar on the front of his head. A Mirror chamber, indeed!
  • On his first night at Hogwarts, Harry has a nightmare that Professor Quirrell's turban was wrapped around his head in place of the Sorting Hat, and was trying to force him to join Slytherin. The more he resisted, the tighter and heavier it got. On its own, it just highlights Harry's subconscious fear and doubt about his Sorting, but it gains significance after we learn that Voldemort was inside Professor Quirrell's turban all along, forcing HIM to do terrible things. What's more, that Voldemort had left "a piece of himself" in Harry when he got his scar, that the Sorting Hat mainly considered Harry for Slytherin on account of said piece (as revealed in the second book), and that said piece was actually a Horcrux (a piece of Voldemort's soul) in the last book. It's possible that something deep in Harry's subconscious sensed this, particularly the Horcrux part of his mind, and it manifested itself in a highly symbolic, vaguely prophetic dream. The darn thing just tried to give away not only the plot of the book, but seven books' worth of Harry's development regarding his relationship to Voldemort and House Slytherin, all in the first night!
    • Wrapped around him, getting tighter and tighter, like a python? Foreshadowing Nagini?
  • It's no wonder that it would have taken magic for the snake in the zoo to be able to react to Harry talking to it, and that it was taken as one of the signs that Harry is a wizard. In addition to snakes being unable to understand human speech under ordinary circumstances, just like any other animal, snakes do not have ears and therefore cannot hear.
  • The four words Dumbledore says at the opening feast ("Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!") sound nonsensical. However, they represent what each house despises: "Nitwit" stands for foolishness, which the intellectual Ravenclaws shy away from. "Blubber" refers to inaction, the trait frowned upon by the volatile Gryffindors. "Oddment" could be interpreted as anything odd, foreign or not traditional to the wizarding world, which the purist Slytherins would resent. Finally, "tweak" could mean anyone stepping out of line, disliked by the rule-abiding Hufflepuffs. Dumbledore is trying to warn the students about having prejudices, though how he expects the meaning of those words to reach them is unclear.
  • Snape's initial speech in his introductory Potions class is chock full of Foreshadowing. Each of his phrases can be taken to represent a particular potion that plays an important part in the main narrative:
    • "Bewitch the Mind" - Amortentia (Love Potion), which is later implied to have been the potion under which Voldemort himself was conceived.
    • "Ensnare the Senses" - Wolfsbane Potion, which is used on Lupin in Book 3 and allows him to keep his human mental state while in his bodily werewolf form.
    • "Bottle Fame, Brew Glory, even stopper Death" - The Elixir of Life, which can only be made with the help of the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, can do all three of these things. It can turn any metal into pure gold, thus making the owner rich. Whoever is able to produce the elixir will be unique among wizards because of its rarity, and drinking it also makes the drinker functionally immortal. Of course, the first book was mainly about the Stone - but mainly the Stone as a tool to create the Elixir of Life, which Voldemort intended to use to return to full power. Also, it's implied that the spellwork Snape used in Book 6 to buy Dumbledore a bit more time after the curse of Marvolo Gaunt's ring started to kill him, involved the use of a potion, thus putting a stopper into Dumbledore's death and leaving him alive long enough for the chain of events that resulted in Harry obtaining the allegiance of the Elder Wand.
    • "Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" Asphodel is a plant from the lily family that is also said to grow in the Elysian Fields; in the language of flowers, it means "my regrets follow you to the grave". Wormwood is associated with regret or bitterness. So Snape's first words to Harry can be translated as, "I bitterly regret Lily's death." Confirmed by Pottermore.
  • It seems questionable that Dumbledore would leave recently orphaned Harry at the Dursleys since they hate magic, but think about what Harry would be like if he was raised in the wizard world instead and knowing that he was famous in that world. He would most likely be a complete prick much like Malfoy. Having him raised by the Dursleys makes sense because being mistreated by them makes him humble.
    • Confirmed by Dumbledore himself, though he still would rather Harry NOT be mistreated. Also, there's a marked difference between being raised by some other wizard than being raised by Lucius Malfoy, who was basically the biggest asshole in the series aside from Voldemort himself and possibly Umbridge. If he'd been adopted by a good, loving family like, say, by the Weasleys (which sort-of semi-ended up happening), he would've been fine. Perhaps better off. (Well, except for the whole magical protection thing.) What effects the Dursleys' treatment of Harry as a young boy had on him in his adolescent years can only be picked up by inference. It's complicated somewhat by Voldemort's soul fragment being inside of him but quite a bit of Harry's behavior makes more sense if you take into account the reality of his emotional and mental abuse.
      • It does seem a bit odd, given the extent of that abuse, that Harry wasn't more psychologically scarred. He went from having no one *at all* who loved him to casually forming lifelong friendships during his first days in the wizarding world. This could actually be *thanks* to the horcrux. Even though Harry's fundamentally decent nature kept him from being turned into a psychopath, he did grow up with a piece of his mind having had a lifetime's experience as an isolated orphan with no desire for human relationships. He accepted and valued his relationships once he developed them, but he was okay without them too.
  • The hotel Harry and the Dursleys stay in to escape the barrage of Hogwarts letters is revealed in Pottermore as being close to Cokeworth. Also in Cokeworth were the childhood homes of the Evans sisters - Petunia and Lily. Petunia probably mentioned that hotel to him at one point when talking about her hometown - probably years ago to the point where Vernon only remembered it subconsciously (like when Hermione apparated herself and Harry to the Forest of Dean)
  • The Sorting Hat's song in this book says "perhaps in Slytherin/You'll find your real friends". Doylistically this was probably Rowling needing a rhyme for "Those cunning folk use any means/To achieve their ends" given the constant emphasis on Slytherin House's negative aspects, but when you think about it, Slytherin alumni's loyalties to those they care about (as opposed to allies of convenience) are incredibly strong. Snape, of course, betrays Voldemort and devotes his life to bringing him down when he learns Lily is in danger; Bellatrix is so devoted to Voldemort she has no fear of being sentenced to Azkaban for his sake; Regulus Black sacrificed himself in an attempt to render Voldemort mortal when Voldemort almost killed his beloved slave Kreacher; Narcissa betrays Voldemort twice to ensure Draco's safety - both in the Forbidden Forest scene in Deathly Hallows and in Half-Blood Prince when she defies Voldemort's orders in asking Snape to protect Draco from the effects of his punishment mission (and Bellatrix, too, doesn't report her sister for this disloyalty); and on a lesser scale, Slughorn's networking is designed to generate strong ties between those with talent and those with social prominence. Real friends indeed.
  • Hermione being more worried about expulsion than death makes perfect sense when you consider 1) her status as a Muggle-born witch and 2) the fate of those who don't quite fit in in the magical world. If sent back to the Muggle world, she will have magical powers that she'll have to spend the rest of her life concealing from all around her, all while not knowing for sure how to control them. If she chooses to continue in the magical world, she'll be stigmatized for being expelled from Hogwarts, even if she's able to continue her studies at another school. At least if she dies, she'll be beyond caring.
  • In the movie, Voldemort tries to sway Harry to his side by telling him that they could bring back Harry's parents. Harry calls him a liar and Quirrell / Voldemort attacks him in turn... but pause for a second. They COULD have brought them back... with the RESURRECTION STONE. Voldemort knew of the Deathly Hallows, his entire thing was trying to become the Master of Death, was he maybe telling the truth and Harry simply didn't trust him enough to consider it?
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     Fridge Horror 
  • When Harry visits the zoo with Dudley and frees the boa constrictor, the snake informs Harry, "Brazil, here I come...Thanksss, amigo." However, according to herpetologist Mark O'Shea in his book, "Boas and Pythons of the World" (2007), boas are being over hunted and targeted as prey by many Brazilians. On the mainland, large-scale harvesting of skins, meat, and body parts, combined with active persecution and habitat loss, has had a disastrous effect on the once-common species. O'Shea writes, "I have seen boa constrictor heads in jars, racks of dried boa tails, and live neonates in sacks for sale in Amerindian markets of Belém, Brazil." Had the boa constrictor made it to its species' natural habitat in Brazil, chances are good that it could have gotten killed there. Harry freeing the boa constrictor, though it initially seems like an act of kindness, likely sent the snake to its death.
    • Adding onto the above, by releasing the boa constrictor, Harry also did not account for the snake's welfare in the climate of the United Kingdom. In June or early July, when Harry released the snake, the UK fairly temperate around this time of year, but absolutely freezing in the winter. Snakes released in places like that are likely to die due to this. Snakes, being cold-blooded, cannot generate their own body heat. Boa constrictors, coming from warm, humid, tropical climates around the equator, would not be able to survive long in a UK environment. They simply aren't built to survive in that climate.
    • Likewise, the boa constrictor is stated to have been bred, hatched, and raised in captivity in the zoo. A 2013 study by the University of Illinois found that the longer that wild-caught rat snakes been held in captivity, the less successful and slower they were to react to prey. Ratsnakes held in captivity for as little as 10 months were less successful, and took longer to locate prey, than snakes just brought into captivity. In captive-bred snakes, poor performance in foraging or hunting may be attributed to them never having developed normal foraging abilities in the wild. The study's results do suggest that when translocated or reintroduced animals starve, the amount of time spent in captivity could be a contributing factor. This means that the boa constrictor's slower reaction time in hunting, paired with the colder climate of the United Kingdom, would have prevented the snake from surviving long in its new environment.
  • Hagrid gives Dudley a pig's tail. Ha! How funny! Later in the series we see how seriously the Ministry takes magic cast on muggles - and this is a muggle child, no matter what a jerk he and his parents are. Also note that when Hagrid was angered by Vernon, his immediate response was to turn and attack Mr Dursley's son.
    • Hagrid mentions that he'd actually meant to turn Dudley into a pig rather than give him a pig's tail. Word of God states that any human transformed into an animal would lose their memories, intelligence and personality essentially becoming an animal in spirit as well as body unless they were an Animagus and Hagrid intended to do this to an eleven year child for something his father said. Though considering Hagrid was expelled in his third year and never got to learn more about magic he may had been unaware about the full effects of animal transfiguration.
    • Somewhat mitigated by the fact that even Malfoy was turned into a ferret, and was no worse for the wear, even though he was traumatised by the experience. Perhaps Dudley would have simply have bad memories about his transformation, was it complete, but that's it.
    • Given Rowling's habit of nods to mythology, Hagrid quipping that "I guess he was so much of a pig already only the tail was missing" rings eerily like some versions on how the first werewolves came to be: after a king he visited served Zeus, king of the gods, a stew made of a human boy/infant, Zeus literally flipped the table and turned said king, Lycaon (hence lycanthropy) and his sons into the first werewolves, in some versions adding that the only change was that their appearance now matched their monstrous nature, given they had no qualms about killing, cooking and serving a boy (some versions even say Lycaon was a cannibal even before).
    • Also, Hagrid's wand got snapped in his third year when he was expelled from Hogwarts. That means his education stopped at age 13, 14 at the latest. And as we see in Chamber of Secrets, spells from a broken wand usually rebound on the caster and cause harm- but Hagrid doesn't seem to get any rebound from the spell. Just how powerful a wizard is Hagrid?
      • It is possible that Dumbledore fixed Hagrid's wand. Harry did the same to his own wand in the last non epilogue scene of the final book using the Elder Wand, the wand Dumbledore had.
  • In the film, we see flashbacks to Lily Potters murder by Voldemort, using the killing curse. We know from the later instalments that the killing curse inflicts no pain on its victim, instead killing them without leaving any signs of a cause for the death. So why is Lily screaming when struck by the curse? She's screaming in anguish at the reality that her only son is about to be murdered, and there is nothing she can do to save him.
  • Hermione's line "We could have been killed, or worse, expelled" seems funny at first, but given how much is Hermione anxious about her marks in "The Half-Blood Prince", Hogwarts probably meant everything to the girl.
  • The fact that three 11 year olds and a 12 year old (Hermione's birthday is mid-September) were sent into the Forbidden Forest to find a unicorn that had been badly hurt for being out after curfew. Hagrid even says that a werewolf wouldn't be able to do it. And as we learn in the next book, there's an entire colony of giant spiders in the forest! Oh, and Hagrid even tells them that "Yeh've done wrong an' now yeh've got ter pay fer it.'" when Harry and Hermione (and Ron in the movie) are in trouble for helping him! What the Hell, Hero? doesn't even begin to cover it!
    • The quoted line was mostly directed to Malfoy, who, and Hagrid did probably know this, tried to give away the fact that he had Norbert. Malfoy should really consider himself lucky that Hagrid is a very peaceful person who does not hold grudges easily, because it would have been easy for Hagrid to let it look like an accident. Especially while being friends with Aragog...
      • Such a solution would be quite improbable due to what kind of a person Lucius Malfoy is. As we learn in the following book, he already held a grudge with Hagrid and was not really content that Rubeus was still at school.
  • At the end, after Dumbledore is finished being Mr. Exposition, he chomps down on what he thinks is a toffee-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean, only to discover that it's really ear wax-flavored. The question is — how does Dumbledore know what ear wax tastes like?!
    • Probably tried it as a very young child, like a lot of curious young boys... which makes this more funny than anything. Also, it's not impossible that some Potion Dumbledore learned about in his near-century of studying and teaching magic, involved ear wax. The very next book you get a potion that requires bodily bits & pieces from another person in order to work.
    • He also could have assumed what it tasted like based on the smell. Smell is a large help to the sense of taste.
    • As Dumbledore had just commented on his bad luck with Bertie Bott's Every-Flavored Beans, and at one point during the series Ron mentions vomit-flavor and the like. What if, as a little kid, Dumbledore found out the hard (but chewy candy) way what a lot of disgusting things such as ear wax, vomit, and even more disturbing-to-have-in-your-mouth flavors were like?
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduces a huge bit of Fridge Horror regarding the abuse that Harry suffers for being magical. He could've wound up like Credence Barebone — y'know, the Obscurial.


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