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What An Idiot / Harry Potter

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"A lot of the greatest wizards haven't got an ounce of logic,—"

Warning: Unmarked spoilers on this page.

Oh, Hermione. You would not know how right you were.

You may put examples from both the book and film adaptations.

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  • Slytherin House is notorious for producing the greatest number of dark wizards out of any house in Hogwarts.
    You'd Expect: Both school and government authorities would take a special interest in ensuring the members of this House were held under special scrutiny. Furthermore, they could try to find out why this pattern has persisted for so long, and what they could do to prevent it.
    Instead: No one performs any investigation nor preventative measures, and the House is free to release evil wizards to the world. If anything, to the contrary, most of the prominent Slytherins seem to be assuming major roles in the Ministry. There's minor attempts at justification, like "being stuck there doesn't mean you're a bad person," but this argument, while theoretically correct, clashes against the statistically demonstrable truth that Slytherin is a factory of douchebags. It also does nothing to address the underlying stigma, which effectively plays both against the house and the rest of the community.
  • The Polyjuice Potion can give you the appearance of anyone you can get a sample of hair from — not just a clever disguise, but it alters your body so you have the same fingerprints, hair, and body shape. Thus, anyone important can be impersonated or outright replacednote .
    You'd Expect: There would be more commonplace methods of rooting out such impersonations at any location of importance, such as the Ministry and Gringotts. For example, as the supplanter's mind remains the same after the changes, it'd be easy to do a quick Legilimency check to see if his/her thoughts and recent memories match what is expected of the person. This admittedly would not stop a skilled Occlumens, but very few wizards are after all. Also, given that the Marauder's Map cannot be fooled by the potion, there must have some other ways to detect it. The Order of the Phoenix uses personalized Trust Passwords that are fairly effective.
    Instead: The Ministry of Magic has no defense against it whatsoever.
    As A Result: The heroes are able to infiltrate it using Polyjuice Potion. The Ministry can be cut some slack, as we don't know if Gringotts (which does have effective intruder defenses) would share its knowledge with them, but they still ought to try and do something to patch it.
  • From the second book onwards, the same situation repeats itself: some crucial events take place with either no witnesses or kids (usually Harry) as witnesses, and afterwards nobody believes them.
    You'd Expect: They would use Legilimency or the Pensive to look at the memories themselves. If they remain mistrustful, they can also use the Time Turners to send back an invisible observer and oversee the events in question.
    Instead: They never do anything remotely similar, and it constantly gets worse.
  • Dumbledore is revealed to be a highly skilled Legilimens in the fifth book of the series.
    You'd Expect: Dumbledore to try using this skill for something, such as finding out who opened the Chamber of Secrets both times in the series. Granted, this might not work, and could be a very controversial step, with the students and their parents getting very upset about Dumbledore's mind-reading, but Dumbledore could point out that with someone going around petrifying (and potentially killing) other students, he's got a very good excuse to take such measures.
    Instead: Dumbledore's Legilimency is only used in the fifth book, and only to find out why some of the events of the climax happened.
  • The Mauraders (James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter) create a map that is not fooled by Animagi or Polyjuice Potion.
    You'd Expect: Dumbledore to have a version of this map somewhere so he can identify the Animagi, people under Polyjuice, or possessed people in the school. Preferably with some kind of alarm if a name shows up that isn't supposed to be there, so he doesn't have to keep looking at it. Or any other important place, for that matter: if four kids can make one, surely experienced wizards can imitate it.
    Instead: Apparently, nobody thinks of this. Ever. The Marauder's map (the only known one of its kind) is used solely for Harry and co. to sneak around the school without being caught. It's not until 19 years later that Hogwarts authorities think of using it.
  • House elves can — at the order of their master — use powerful magic, and have a method of transportation that is instantaneous, untraceable, and bypasses anti-apparition wards.
    You'd Expect: Anybody, hero or villain, to notice that potential and use it extensively.
    You'd Also Expect: Wizards to develop and utilise means of protection against house elves' magic. After all, they are slaves, and like every slave race in history, they might use any advantage to concoct an uprising some day. Even if it would be admittedly very out-of-character for the elves's Blue-and-Orange Morality, at least two elves in the series have explicitly revolted against their masters, so the possibility existed and should have been a serious concern.
    Instead: Nobody cares. Elves keep being able to go literally anywhere, and no wizard makes use of that until the desperate situation in the last book. Somewhat justified in that they're usually seen as Beneath Notice, but in the past several centuries, or millennia, you'd think someone would have rectified this.
  • For his protection from Voldemort, Harry must stay with his abusive aunt, uncle, and cousin from the time he is orphaned to his attendance at Hogwarts, and return there for the majority of the time that he isn't at the school.
    You'd Expect: For somebody to check up on him periodically as time went by, to verify that he's being well cared for, and to gradually introduce him into the Wizarding World. Several pivotal people know how important he is in defeating Voldemort, and as future books and movies would show, leaving a young witch or wizard untrained, in an abusive environment, or forcing them to suppress their powers can have extremely dire consequences. For example, Prisoner of Azkaban has Harry blow up Aunt Marge when he's provoked enough, and that's possibly the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario? One word: Obscurial.
    Instead: The only one who sees him somewhat regularly is his Squib neighbor Mrs. Figg (who deliberately bores him when she watches him so the Dursleys don't catch on, and apparently never passes on word of Harry's mistreatment to anyone else). Harry is left alone and abused, without knowing why. Added to the Horcrux that occasionally influences his behavior, it is a damn miracle that he's as stable and good-natured as he is.
    As a Result: Harry's abusive upbringing gives him severe trust issues, especially when it comes to adults and authority figures, and a stunning lack of self-preservation. This causes a lot of problems throughout the books, and brings about several situations where the problem could have been resolved much quicker if Harry had told a trusted adult about what was going on. The situation is made all the more egregious in that among Harry's allies are some very powerful Aurors, one Mama Bear, Dumbledore, and his godfather. And even when they do intervene, it's usually with one-time threats, and nothing for a long-term resolution. Even McGonagall, after a day of spying on the Dursleys in cat form during the prologue, can tell that it's not the environment that Harry should grow up in.
  • Related to the above, the infant Harry is the miraculously the only survivor of Voldemort's attack on his parents. It's been decided to leave him with his aforementioned relatives to be raised "out of the spotlight" in order to get a "normal childhood".
    You'd Expect: For somebody, at minimum either McGonagall or preferably Dumbledore himself, to personally deliver Harry, speak to the Dursleys, explain the situation to them, and simply ask them if they'd even be willing and/or able to take Harry in. Bear in mind, it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to raise a child, they already have Dudley to take care of, and now they'd be forced to unexpectedly to take on another one. Giving them an actual choice in the matter is a common courtesy at minimum. Additionally, Dumbledore would be able to gently break the news of Lily's death to Petunia, offer his condolences, and possibly help smoothen out any resentments that Petunia has with her sister (something that many books shows he's definitely aware of). He could also have taken the opportunity to attempt to alleviate any fears or concerns the two have about inviting a magical child into their home. The pair's distrust — even hatred — of magic is not exactly well-hidden or unjustified at all. He could also explain the nature of the blood protection caused by Lily's sacrifice, and that by taking Harry in, they make their home the ultimate "safe house" for the next 15+ years.
    You'd Also Expect: For Dumbledore to offer them some form of monetary compensation to help pay for Harry's needs (which could reasonably come from his late parents' accumulated funds, given the circumstances). And if the Dursleys still refuse, Dumbledore still has more than enough time, connections, and magical power to find another course of action.
    Instead: Harry is a Doorstop Baby, with nothing more than a note essentially saying, "Your hated sister's dead. Here's her son, raise him as your own, good luck", and with them having no way to contact him to actually talk this scenario over. note 
    As A Result: This has the obvious consequence of leaving Petunia with forever unresolved tension regarding her sister (that she takes out on Harry), Vernon frequently demeaning him, and Dudley being a constant bully to Harry, essentially robbing him of anything remotely resembling a happy childhood.
  • The Defense Against the Dark Arts apparently has a curse on it placed by Voldemort. Each professor has never lasted longer than a year for a variety of reasons.
    You'd Expect: For Dumbledore to either bring in every single curse breaker that he could to fix the position. Or alternatively, exploit Loophole Abuse and rename the class, or hold it in a completely different location either in Hogwarts, or off-grounds via Portkey access. We're talking about a class specifically designed to teach students to recognize or protect themselves from threats.
    Instead: He doesn't do anything.
    As A Result: The students are left without consistent teaching, unpreparednote , and in the end, many deaths that occur by the end of the series can be attributed to Dumbledore's inaction.
  • Wizards live in a world with Muggles who have invented many useful things which magic cannot replicate (though electronics don't work in areas with a high concentration of magic).
    You'd expect: Wizards would use Muggle inventions as much as they could: for example, pens don't use electricity, and are far more convenient than quills and ink, which are usually non-magic. Wizards also phone each other a couple of times in the books, so there seems to be nothing stopping them from using quite complex technology by themselves as long as they don't take it into magical places like Hogwarts. Wizards would also try to develop some way of shielding Muggle inventions from magic so they could be used in magical places.
    Instead: Wizards ignore a potentially incredibly useful source of information and power which could have instantly solved or prevented many of the problems which arose (for example, if Dumbledore had simply texted Fudge rather than going to the Ministry of Magic himself in the first book, Harry wouldn't have nearly been killed by Voldemort). To be fair, this is justified slightly by the huge amount of prejudice many wizards have against Mugglesnote , although only the most vehement anti-Muggle wizards have refused to accept that cars and trains are excellent modes of transport that really have no magical peer (which is why Hogwarts students travel to the school by train, why the Ministry owns a fleet of cars, and why the Knight Bus exists), but you'd think people like Arthur Weasley would jump at the chance to properly use Muggle technology, while pragmatic people like Dumbledore would definitely not ignore a useful resource purely down to prejudice.
  • After the First Wizarding War with Lord Voldemort, a good number of Death Eaters suffered various fates: death, imprisonment, exile, or renouncing Voldemort. Alastor Moody grumpily points out that it took him months to track down Karkaroff, who gets a shorter sentence in Azkaban by ratting out a good number of Death Eaters like Augustus Rookwood. It's unclear how many Death Eaters actually fled the country. The ones that did evade prison claimed that Voldemort put them under the Imperius Curse. With Lucius Malfoy, it's implied that he bought his way out of prison.
    You'd Expect: That the Ministry wouldn't accept the Imperius defense at face value. Veritaserum is a thing, it'd be best to give three drops to each former Death Eater that is renouncing the Dark Lord at trial, and make them take an Unbreakable Vow to never become a Muggle-hating genocide worshipper again. It's cruel, but a necessity given that Voldemort wreaked havoc in both the Wizarding and the Muggle World.
    Instead: For the most part, the Ministry lets the renounced Death Eaters resume their former lives. Lucius Malfoy gains a powerful position by making lots of donations to Fudge's campaign. Macnair is employed as an executioner. Dumbledore vouches for Snape, but while good at heart, Snape is still a Sadist Teacher and a bitter jerk.
    The Result: The former Death Eaters manage to, on a rather dangerous level, infiltrate the Ministry, playing The Long Game for the coup in Book Seven. The less dangerous actions include but are not limited to the following: creating a new generation of Death Eaters like Draco Malfoy and his friends, terrorizing the Muggle groundskeeper and his family at the Quidditch World Cup, and busting out several of the loyal Death Eaters from Azkaban.
  • Dementors are dangerous beings that feed on happy thoughts. It can be so bad that they can cause people to lose the will to live. If they get really angry, they will suck out a person's soul, giving them a Fate Worse than Death. They don't care if a person truly deserves losing all their happiness, about innocence or guilt, or about morality. Dementors just want happy thoughts.
    You'd Expect: That wizards would avoid Dementors at all costs in terms of negotiating with them.
    Instead: Using the Insane Troll Logic that people who are convicted deserve to stay in a prison where the guards suck out all hope of escaping and trap them in their worst memories (which, in our world, qualifies for psychological torture and clashes directly with the United Nations Conventions against Torture, by the way), the Ministry of Magic employs the Dementors at Azkaban, the Wizarding prison. It's notable that Moody, one of Dumbledore's good friends and a Auror known for moral standards, disagrees with Dumbledore about this: Moody asserts that "filth" like Karkaroff deserve despair, while Dumbledore says no one deserves the Dementors' presence.
    The Result: Voldemort manages to offer more than "lawfully surrendered" happiness to the Dementors when he returns to power, since he has tons of Muggleborn wizards that could be sent to them. They let fifteen dangerous Death Eaters escape, and that's just the start of it.
    Furthermore: Dumbledore explicitly warned Fudge that the Dementors would side with Voldemort at the end of Goblet of Fire and told Fudge to sack them ASAP. Fudge, being a hubris-filled prat with excessive attachment to his job and a nasty streak of typical wizard prejudices, didn't listen, and, well…
  • Severus Snape wants the Defense Against the Dark Arts job. He is good at it, but in addition to being a jerk, he has unrealistic high standards. The job is also cursed, thanks to an angry Lord Voldemort; Lupin and Moody were lucky to be alive after they taught their classes. Dumbledore refuses him the job because Snape is too valuable as a spy.
    You'd Expect: Snape would give it up. We see five Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers suffer the curse; Snape has seen at least thirteen. Surely he doesn't want to die or end up with a Fate Worse than Death. Further, Dumbledore could at least have told him that the position was cursed, since given what happened after he refused Voldemort the position, one would think he'd have put two and two together by now.
    Instead: Snape keeps wanting the job. Dumbledore acquiesces in Harry's sixth year, where Snape slows down a deadly curse that will kill Dumbledore in a year, and the Headmaster owes him for begging Snape to give him a Mercy Kill when the time allows it.
    The Result: The curse hits Snape a year after he takes the job and becomes "headmaster", when Voldemort thinks he needs to murder Snape to gain full possession of the Elder Wand. Also, he's known as the man who murdered Dumbledore, even when the truth comes out.
  • Over the course of the series, we learn of at least three students with abusive home lives while not in Hogwarts: Harry with the Dursleys, Snape’s drunkard father who hates magic and is abusive to his wife and son for it, and Tom Riddle, who was consistently sent back to Wool’s Orphanage in World War II London. There have doubtlessly been many more throughout the history of the school.
    You'd Expect: There to be some form of alternate housing at Hogwarts over the summer break for students with abusive homes or places to go in general. Even if not at Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic ought to have a system in place for this kind of thing, especially since children or teenagers might snap and grievously harm their tormentors or vice versa for the abuse. And since Dumbledore managed to keep Hagrid on Hogwarts grounds after his expulsion, there likely is some way possible to do so.
    Instead: There is no system in place or efforts to keep children away from abusive homes. While Harry’s case could be justified in that no one knew the extent of his home life until 3rd year, and the blood protections requiring him to stay there, there really is no excuse for Snape or Voldemort’s situation.
    The Result: Harry grows up with abusive relatives and develops trust issues and a volatile temper, Snape becomes more bitter and cynical to the point he starts falling in with the Death Eaters, and Tom Riddle grows up to become Lord Voldemort.

    Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone 
  • A teacher is sent to introduce Harry to the wizarding world.
    You'd Expect: For Dumbledore to send any legitimately competent teacher or agent, preferably well versed in diplomacy and with good social skills, to tell Harry what he needs to know and gradually integrate him. Said individual would also pick up on the signs of abuse that Harry has endured and report this back to prevent said abuse in later books. Or, for that matter, Dumbledore could just do it himself and ensure that there are no screw-ups.
    Instead: Dumbledore sends Hagrid, a Manchild with No Social Skills who is barely a wizard at all. Hagrid completely overlooks the abuse that Harry has suffered, the Dursleys' blatant hatred of magic in general, and loses his temper, causing him to curse Dudley (who, Asshole Victim aside, still doesn't know any better due to his upbringing), which obviously doesn't endear Harry or magic to them and only leads to greater tension in the future.
  • Harry receives his first letter from Hogwarts, and the first mail he's ever gotten. Before he can read it, Uncle Vernon confiscates it, and realizes what it is. He and Petunia have a hurried talk after Vernon tosses the boys out of the kitchen. Neither of them want Harry to grow up and become a wizard because they swore that they would "stamp out" any of the weirdness that Lily and James had when they took him in as a doorstep baby. The letter does say that you need to RSVP, which is a perfect loophole.
    You'd Expect: If they don't want Harry to attend Hogwarts, they would write back, as Petunia suggests, and say "NO". Cruel, but it gets them what they want. It turns out that Dumbledore (through Hagrid) bends the rules so that Hagrid can write in and just say he's picked up Harry, but the Dursleys don't know that. Petunia and Dumbledore have also corresponded before, so she knows he responds to letters.
    Instead: Vernon overrides Petunia and asserts that if they just ignore the letter then they can shut out the wizarding world. Petunia reluctantly goes along with this because she fears the witches and wizards.
    The Result: Hagrid and McGonagall are given permission by Dumbledore to use as much magic as possible to get Harry his letter. No matter what Vernon does, from sealing up the mail slot to changing Harry's bedroom, the letters keep appearing, and as Dudley puts it, "Daddy seems to have gone mad". Dozens appear over the days, and Hagrid tracks them from a remote hotel in the city to the rock on the island. The magic keeps finding them, and so does Hagrid.
  • When Hagrid appears, he easily disarms Uncle Vernon, starts a fire in the grater, and cooks for Harry while educating him about Hogwarts. Hagrid is also a ten foot tall man who starts yelling at Vernon on learning that Harry knows nothing of the wizarding world.
    You'd Expect: After Hagrid ties his shotgun into a knot that Vernon would just keep his mouth shut. The jig's up, and Harry is going to be educated. You can't argue with wizards that can modify memories, and Hagrid is already shown to have a bad temper and is righteously furious on seeing how deprived Harry is.
    Instead: Each time Hagrid yells at Vernon, the man is momentarily cowed before he tries to insult Harry's parents, the Wizarding World, and Albus Dumbledore. And he tries to insist that Harry will not be going.
    The Result: Hagrid sarcastically tells Vernon, "I'd like to see a great Muggle like you stop him". He eventually goes too far by calling Dumbledore a "crackpot old fool". Hagrid wields his umbrella and uses magic on Dudley, giving him a pig tail.
  • Dumbledore is aware that someone is attempting to steal the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, that they were good enough to make a serious attempt to steal it from Gringott's, and there's a strong possibility that it involves Voldemort.
    You'd Expect: Him to recruit former members of the Order to protect it, to surround it with spells that only let the right person past them and to keep its location a secret from everyone outside of that very small group of people. Hell, a Fidelius Charm would be enough, and Dumbledore has an extremely skilled Charms user on his payroll.
    Instead: He relies on less than competent people like Hagrid to supply guards and didn't quiz Hagrid on potential problems for those guards.
    Even Worse: His security used obstacles that were really less security and more puzzles.
    As A Result: Admittedly, some of they were tricky, but first year students were able to get past the same puzzles that were intended to stop a dark wizard controlled by Voldemortnote . If not for the last spell cast on the mirror, you would have to wonder if Dumbledore was unconsciously trying to let Voldemort return to life. (Which is possible, given Harry theorizes that Dumbledore wanted him to face Voldemort.)
    For that matter: Why keep the stone on school premises at all? They can literally Apparate anywhere on Earth, and instead it's kept in a school full of the next generation of magic users. Sure, it's one of the most well-protected places in the Wizarding World, but it is also intentionally placing the students in danger of getting caught in the crossfire, combined with the natural tendency of kids to go specifically where they are told not to, which is exactly what Dumbledore says at the start of the year: "Stay away from the third-floor corridor."
  • After being insulted by Harry and Ron, Hermione runs crying to the girls' bathroom. Then, a TROLL! IN THE DUNGEON! appears, and the two boys realize Hermione isn't being gathered along with the rest of the Gryffindors because she is alone there and hasn't heard the warning.
    You'd Expect: Harry and Ron to tell the teachers that Hermione is in the bathroom. It might be awkward to explain them why she is there, but it's not like verbal bullying is especially punished in Hogwarts, and they can always claim she was overreacting to a friendly joke (which is sadly used successfully as an excuse very often in real life), as it is up to her word against theirs after all. Even if not, despite all their previous actions, Harry and Ron still have enough moral fiber to conclude that risking being punished for making a girl cry is not a big deal compared to surely letting said girl to die by their fault.
    Instead: They go to the bathroom entirely on their own, taking the risk of being found by either the teachers (who will give them at least a good reprimand) or the troll (who will try to crush their heads). Luckily, after a messy battle, who includes Harry and Ron somehow forgetting Hermione is in the room before trying to lock the troll there from outside, they manage to defeat the beast.
  • Following the point above, Hermione is questioned by Mrs. McGonagall about her presence out of the group. Being now thankful to Harry and Ron for saving her, she intends to cover their shameful behavior.
    You'd Expect: Hermione to tell a half-truth and admit that she went to the bathroom to cry. When they ask about the reason, she could now lie and say that she was upset for getting a 99/100 in an exam or something equally in-character for her. Given Hermione's reputation on the school, nobody would doubt of this version and it would shut any possible student that witnessed her running tearfully beforehand.
    Instead: She makes up a self-blaming story, claiming that she snuck out intentionally because she thought herself capable to beat the troll. Aside from being a (fictitious) act of stupidity, this is so atypical of a rule-abiding student like Hermione that McGonagall is doubly disappointed on her, getting her in serious trouble.
    The Result: While this makes the Trio all friends, McGonagall is full of Anger Born of Worry. She gives the trio five points total for bravery — five removed from Hermione and ten added for Harry and Ron— while telling them in the film they survived due to "sheer dumb luck".
  • Voldemort, while possessing the body of Professor Quirrell, wants to kill Harry Potter without openly revealing himself so he can remain on-campus to steal the Philosopher's Stone.
    You'd Expect: That since he enjoys every possible advantage in this situation (Harry does not yet know he is a bad guy, Quirrell is one of Harry's teachers and in a position of authority over him, he is a fully trained wizard and Harry is an 11-year-old boy who is only beginning to learn elementary first-year spells), he would find it trivially easy to arrange to catch Harry somewhere alone and without witnesses and then murder him in any one of a myriad of possible ways that would plausibly look like an accident, or frame someone else for Harry's murder.
    Particularly: If he stunned Harry, then threw him into the room with Fluffy the Cerberus and let him get eaten, which would accomplish multiple objectives at the same time — it would kill Harry while making his death entirely look like "death by misadventure", it would politically disgrace Dumbledore that the Boy-Who-Lived died on Hogwarts grounds from a security measure set up by the school authorities, and it would force either Dumbledore or the Ministry of Magic to order the Cerberus removed from the school as a deadly hazard to students and thus remove the principal obstacle standing between Quirrellmort and the Philosopher's Stone.
    Instead: He tries to kill Harry by jinxing his broom during a Quidditch match...
    As A Result: ...which means his murder attempt is done in broad daylight, in front of hundreds of spectators, and in such a manner that Harry is literally not yet back on the ground before every observer with the IQ of a houseplant (all two of them) has figured out that someone is attempting to kill Harry Potter.
    Even Worse: Harry falls off his broom during Quidditch matches multiple times during later books and it's shown to be trivially easy for a member of staff in the crowd to cast a spell slowing his fall, meaning this method may not have been enough to kill him even if Quirrell had managed to knock him off.
  • Snape realizes that Quirrell let the troll into Hogwarts as a distraction during the Halloween feast, to get the Stone. He goes and heads off Quirrell, but Fluffy bites him badly.
    You'd Expect: Snape would go to Madam Pomfrey and get his leg healed by magic. If Poppy can handle broken bones, concussions, and missing bones, she can heal a severe dog bite. You'd also expect that Snape would tell the other teachers (or at least Dumbledore) what happened and that Quirrell can't be trusted. Thus, either Quirrell can be suspended, the teachers can improve on the Stone's many protective barriers, or both.
    Instead: Snape doesn't in either the movie or the book. In the book, he gets help from Filch in the staffroom, that Harry happens to see, while in the movie he just limps while wishing Harry good luck before the Quidditch match.
    As A Result: Dumbledore's the only teacher suspicious of Quirrell, and the Magic Trio becomes convinced that Snape wants to steal the Stone.
  • Draco Malfoy learns that Harry will be smuggling a baby dragon up to the school astronomy tower at midnight, and makes plans to get him caught.
    You'd Expect: Malfoy to either tip off Filch again, like he did for the midnight duel, or inform another member of staff about what Harry's up to.
    Instead: Malfoy decides to lie in wait for Harry at the entrance to the astronomy tower, despite having no way of catching Harry by doing so, and putting himself in danger of being caught out of bounds.
    As A Result: Draco gets caught and punished by Professor McGonagall. In the film he also does this, but the professor punishes him for being out of bed at the time.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione tell McGonagall their suspicions about "someone" being after the Stone. Harry is about to say "Snape" but since there's no proof backtracks to "someone".
    You'd Expect: McGonagall to immediately haul them into her office and demand exactly what they know about the Stone and how they know it. True, she may believe that they are talking nonsense, but if you are helping to guard a life-or-death secret, and eleven-year-olds are able to discuss the secret, nonsense or otherwise, then you have a major security leak and should try to find out what is happening. Had McGonagall acted sensibly, she could have found out, not only that Hagrid had let things slip in front of the kids, but that he did the same in front of an unknown party. Also, she could assure her students that she would take higher security measures, because Harry and Ron faced a troll to save Hermione without getting a professor and could go Leeroy Jenkins again.
    Instead: McGonagall refuses to believe the Stone is in danger and sends the kids on their way, threatening them with punishment if they don't butt out, and unwittingly making it necessary for them to go after the Stone themselves.
  • Rejected by McGonagall and learning from her that Dumbledore is outside, Harry deduces that Snape will choose that night to act. Accompanied by Ron and Hermione, he sets out for the Stone's chambers, where they find out that someone has entered and passed the first traps.
    You'd Expect: Having now physical evidence of a thief inside (the harp, the damaged key, the troll knocked out), Harry and company to return and warn McGonagall. She will be surely irate at them for disobeying her previous orders, but their discovery entails that a thief has been caught red-handed and is probably still in the chambers, where McGonagall and the other teachers can arrest him (or at least contain him until Dumbledore returns), so this should give the kids a well-deserved break. Yeah, they are wrong on the baddie being Snape, but this point, if mentioned, should be irrelevant once the teachers ascertain someone has really broken in. Sending an owl to Dumbledore before telling McGonagall might be useful just in case she still shows unreasonable, as well as desirable for a matter of time, especially given the suspicions that Voldemort is involved. At the end of the process, with a bit of luck, Voldemort himself might end up caught alive.
    Instead: Nope. Harry decides to follow the thief and somehow get the Stone before, even knowing that they are no match for a Hogwarts teacher in a duel. The possibility of actually reaching the villain would achieve nothing aside from getting the kids killed or held hostage, but this is never even considered. In turn, the idea of warning Dumbledore by owl actually does up to them twice, but they only execute it being already deep into the traps and facing mortal danger, to the point Harry sends Hermione to contact Dumbledore just before he confronts the thief in the last room - thus not giving Dumbledore any time window to arrive.
  • In the book's climax, the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone has ended up in Harry's pocket, and Voldemort and Quirrell know this. Quirrell, as described above, is a fully trained wizard, and in this scene he's been casting non-verbal wandless magic, marking him as one of the most powerful wizards we see in the series.
    You'd Expect: Quirrell to try and get the Stone by magic. Even if Rowling hadn't thought of Accio or Imperio (a summoning spell and a mind-control spell) yet, Quirrell could just kill him by magic and take the Stone from his corpse. He is, after all, a wizard — magic should be reflexive for him. And despite Harry's protection, it is clearly shown that magic does work on him, such as the ropes Quirrell conjured; just making the ropes reach his neck and strangle him should do fine. As will be noted again later on, a modicum of creativity would have allowed him to kill Harry easily.
    Instead: Forgetting about magic altogether, Quirrell runs after Harry and grabs him physically, getting burned by the magic love protection in his skin. Even after this ugly turn of events, he tries again, now trying to strangle Harry with his hands, but obviously fails for the same reason.
    As A Result: By the time Quirrell gets the idea to use magic (because Voldemort is screaming at him to), it's too late as Harry burns him to death.

    Chamber of Secrets 
  • Dobby the house elf hears from his masters, the Malfoys, that they're going to unleash a great evil at Hogwarts that will endanger Harry Potter. The elf, contrary to most of his kind, is not blindly loyal; he decides he has to save the boy. The only problem is he's bound to not give away his master's secrets, or what the plot entails.
    You'd Expect: Given that the plot will be taking place at Hogwarts, that he would go to Dumbledore, the headmaster, and start dropping hints. From what we see of Lucius Malfoy, he didn't seem to bother telling Dobby to not warn anyone. Dumbledore in book five reveals that he can perform Legilimency on an unwilling house elf and thus can temporarily break the Geas.
    Instead: Dobby goes straight to Harry Potter's bedroom, confiscating his letters from Ron and Hermione, and gets him in trouble when Harry refuses to stay home from Hogwarts. The elf then continues to do this, without explaining to Harry or giving more than a few hints about the danger.
    As A Result: Harry gets irked at Dobby, especially since the attempt with the rogue Bludger could have killed him, and refuses to heed the order.
  • Dobby tells Harry that he can't go back to Hogwarts. When Harry refuses, Dobby levitates Aunt Petunia's party pudding into the air and threatens to destroy it if Harry still insists on going. If the pudding is destroyed, Harry is going to be in huge trouble.
    You'd Expect: Harry to lie for the time being and say, "Okay, fine, I won't go back to Hogwarts."
    Instead: Harry refuses to say he's not going back to Hogwarts. Dobby destroys the pudding and skedaddles, the Dursleys are furious, and Harry gets locked in his room with the intention of never letting him go back to Hogwarts. If not for the Weasley brothers' escape plan, Harry would have been in there for the rest of the summer.
  • Harry and Ron, thanks to Dobby, cannot pass through the magical barrier leading to the Platform 9 3/4, but all the other Weasleys are already there, the train has already left, and the boys are afraid (or at least implied to be) that Ron's parents might leave the station another way upon realizing that the barrier has been closed. Harry suggests that they return to the car they arrived by, because people are starting to stare at them.
    You'd Think: That the boys would just go to the car and wait for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to get back, since they obviously wouldn't abandon their car. It's also improbable that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would miss the fact that Harry and one of their sons have not boarded the train, so it is reasonable to expect that they would find their way back to the station to make sure the boys are ok. Failing that, as Professor McGonagall suggested, they could have just sent Hedwig, who they have with them, to Hogwarts with a message explaining the incident.
    You'd Also Think: Ron's parents would immediately notice that the last two members of the group, Harry and Ron, have not followed them into the platform. Molly should be especially aware, considering all the motherly care she puts on Harry despite (or because) of him not being her son nor experienced with the magical world.
    Instead: Ron gets a "brilliant" idea to steal the car and fly it to Hogwarts.
    End result: The car's stealth mode malfunctions, it gets seen by non-wizards, Harry and Ron get detention, Arthur is fixed with a huge fine for this breach of the Statute of Secrecy, and the Weasleys lose the car. At least this one gets Lampshaded by Professor McGonagall.
  • Voldemort gives a Horcrux, his old school diary, to Lucius Malfoy, as part of his plan to reopen the Chamber of Secrets, but since he's incapable of trusting anyone, he doesn't tell Lucius what it is, just that it's a powerful magical artifact.
    You'd Think: Voldemort would tell Lucius that he values the diary's safety more than he does Lucius', and that if Lucius does anything without Voldemort's express orders, death itself will not be enough to save Lucius and his family from very slow, very painful retribution. Hell, Voldemort could suggest that the diary has powerful wards on it that will be activated if Lucius uses it without permission, so that Lucius would hesitate to use it in a cavalier fashion even if he was 100% convinced Voldemort was dead.
    Instead: Voldemort does none of this, apparently confident that Lucius would never take any initiative whatsoever regarding Voldemort's stuff.
    As A Result: Lucius decides to carry out the plan anyway for his own ends, and gets a portion of his master's soul destroyed. Voldemort is less than amused when he finds out, and ultimately gets payback by forcing Draco to do an impossible task in the sixth book that he knows Draco will fail at.
  • Throughout the year, muggleborn students, along with Filch's cat, suffer attacks from an unknown assailant that leave them petrified. Right after the first attack, it is established that a potion known as Mandrake Draught can cure the victims.
    You'd Expect: The school to try and buy some of this Draught from an outside source as soon as possible, so that the students can be treated quickly. Granted, the person responsible for the attacks might have destroyed or contaminated all the Mandrake Draught in the country earlier to prevent the school doing this, but we see no evidence to suggest this happened, and in any case, the idea of one person being capable of this seems a bit far-fetched. As a bonus, treating a victim immediately will allow them to identify their mysterious attacker.
    Instead: The school decides to make the Draught itself, even going so far as to grow its own Mandrakes. (The things are already planted, but still.) The problem is that the Mandrakes take most of the school year to mature, and therefore become usable.
    As A Result: The monster continues attacking people, and it's only through dumb luck that no one dies. Also, the assailant's victims miss out on a substantial part of their education for that year.
  • The diary's first victim is Ginny Weasley, who starts writing in it because it happened to be in one of the books that her parents bought secondhand. Tom's memory finds out from Ginny that Harry Potter is at school. Tom also needs to feed on a living person to regenerate, and to bring Lord Voldemort back.
    You'd Expect: That when possessing Ginny, he would compel her to give the diary to Harry. Tom manages to win Harry over, and would have in canon if he hadn't revealed that Hagrid was the accused Heir (he wasn't). Then Tom could use Harry, who already speaks Parseltongue, to open the chamber and to suck his life force. Thus Tom in one sweep returns as the Heir, and gets rid of the child that defeated him. Problem solved!
    Instead: Tom, partly because it amuses him to manipulate a naive eleven-year-old girl, uses Ginny to open the Chamber and attack students again.
    As A Result: Ginny, despite her subsequent memory losses, realizes that she can't trust Tom, disposes of the diary, and steals it from Harry when he obtains it.
    • This leads to a moment where Ginny is the one holding the Idiot Ball. She's come to suspect that the diary's connected to the attacks on other students. And she's right: It's possessing her and having her set a basilisk on people. She tries to get rid of the diary by flushing it down a toilet, but later discovers that it's in Harry's hands. Not wanting him to discover her crimes, she steals the diary back. That's understandable, but her next actions really take the biscuit.
      You'd Expect: Ginny to try and dispose of the diary a bit more thoroughly than she did last time.
      Instead: She writes in it again. Granted, she probably wanted to confirm how much the diary had told Harry, but it was still a bad idea.
      As A Result: The diary has her attack two more people (Hermione and Penelope Clearwater) and Ginny herself almost dies.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart is an utter fraud who uses memory charms to mind-wipe people and take credit for their accomplishments, and by his own admission is rubbish with nearly all other magic. (In fact, Dumbledore hired him because Lockhart made the mistake of hexing two of Dumbledore's friends.)
    You'd Expect: That he would turn down the offer. Lockhart is being put in a position where his immense ineptitude will be immediately apparent to anyone paying attention. He has a reputation to uphold and this is going to be a stain on it.
    Instead: Lockhart tries to claim that he can do any spell possible and engages in a dangerous first class with Cornish pixies. This backfires horribly; when showing off the pixies to the class, the little monsters disarm him easily. Then he vanishes all the bones in Harry's right arm, which irritates Madam Pomfrey and Harry to no end. By the time Ginny Weasley goes missing, all the teachers know that Lockhart is useless and send him on a Snipe Hunt to find the Chamber.
  • Harry and Ron have figured out that the monster in the titular chamber is a Basilisk. Shortly after overhearing that Ginny has been taken to the Chamber, and then witnessing the teachers telling Professor Lockhart to deal with the monster, they decide to give him this information. When they do so, they learn that Lockhart, who has supposedly dealt with all manner of dark creatures in the past, is in fact a fraud who takes credit for deeds other wizards and witches have done.
    You'd Expect: That, since Lockhart has proven himself to be incompetent at this sort of thing, Harry and Ron would seek out the other teachers despite the orders to return to their dormitories and get them to deal with the Basilisk (Professor McGonagall at minimum, maybe Snape too). In addition, given Lockhart was about to wipe their memories and they had to disarm him, they would immobilize him in his office or make sure he's tied up securely with a note explaining the situation.
    Instead: For some reason, they decide to bring Lockhart along anyway, even though they have thrown his wand out the window and he has no useful knowledge to serve of any help.\\
Result: While in the Chamber, Lockhart attempts to abandon Ginny and completely wipe both Harry and Ron's minds in order to stop them revealing his secrets. They only avoid this due to Lockhart using Ron's broken wand, causing the spell to backfire on him. Even if he hadn't tried this, there was virtually nothing he could have done to help the group.
  • Fifty years ago, when Riddle was a student, he opened the Chamber. Several Muggleborn students were petrified, causing a huge panic.
    You'd Expect: That the students would have been put on lockdown, the way they are when the Chamber opens in the present. Also that professors would do roll call.
    Instead: When Myrtle Warren goes missing, no one searches for her for hours. Keep in mind that Myrtle was only a kid, and she was being bullied by Olive Hornby. But even so, she was a Hogwarts student, with parents who loved her.
    The Result: Riddle kills Myrtle in the bathroom where the Chamber entrance is located when she happens to eavesdrop on him while he's summoning the Basilisk. It's unclear if anyone could have saved her from a Basilisk's glare, but maybe her body would have been found sooner. Her parents are furious and grieving, and Hogwarts nearly closes down.
    • Moaning Myrtle wasn't well-liked in life because no one tolerated her crying, and it took hours to find her body. As she mentions, she came back as a ghost to haunt her school bully Olive Hornby; the Ministry stepped in after she crashed Olive's wedding, confining her to Hogwarts. Myrtle still hangs around the bathroom where she was killed, though it's revealed she can go as far as the lake if she wishes.
      You'd Expect: That Dumbledore or someone would ask her, "Do you have any idea who/what killed you?" If he hears her testimony, it probably wouldn't be too hard to find the hidden entrance to the Chamber, as he does something very similar in the sixth book. Sure, no one had ever found it before, but he's got only one bathroom to search, rather than a whole castle, and he will prove the ability to find hidden magic, as he "knows Tom Riddle's style." Let's repeat: Dumbledore had the opportunity to interview the murder victim, a chance most detectives would give their right arms for.
      Or At Least: That Dumbledore would realize that Myrtle spends a whole lot of time in that bathroom, even though she could haunt all of Hogwarts if she wished. Maybe it's because this is where she died?
      Instead: Myrtle is so unpleasant and miserable that no one wants to ask her anything; even Dumbledore fails to see past her traumatized ghost.
      As A Result: It takes someone fifty years to come up with the idea to go talk to her, and it's almost done too late to save the new batch of petrified people.
    • During the original attacks, Riddle misdirected the investigation by pointing the finger at Hagrid, with the monster believed to be Aragog, the young acromantula (a giant spider) which he brought into the school.
      You'd Expect: The Aurors who investigate the matter would realize that things don't add up. An acromantula should leave massive bite marks on its victim, but a basilisk death glare leaves no visible external injuries, and Myrtle's ghost form shows that her corpse was precisely immaculate. For that matter, considering that people have survived untreated bites from full-grown acromantulas in the series without much trouble (while basilisk venom kills in minutes), it's hard to see how the currently very young and small Aragog would be able to kill anyone at his current size. And that's assuming there weren't any petrification victims the first time, which should instantly disqualify a creature that isn't capable of petrifying people.
      Instead: None of this gets brought up. Apparently, they disposed of Myrtle's corpse without even trying to ascertain the cause of death or at least merely taking a look at the body.
      Result: Hagrid is convicted and only avoids Azkaban because his wand gets snapped instead. Apparently, the evidence (whatever it was) was so strong that this second time around, he becomes the prime suspect and gets held in Azkaban for a few months without trial. Admittedly, some of this is almost certainly down to Fantastic Racism and the need to find a scapegoat, but even then...
  • Lockhart is trying to escape but is confronted by our heroes. He then explains how he got famous and his skill at memory charms. Then he tries to Obliviate our heroes.
    You'd Expect: For Lockhart to do this immediately because he has barely any skill in magic other than said spell.
    Instead: He reaches for his wand slower than a turtle and is held at wandpoint by Harry and Ron.
  • Hermione figured out via "Eureka!" Moment that the creature attacking the students is a basilisk. She goes to the library for proof, tears out a page of a book with the information after writing "pipes" on it, and grabs a mirror to look around corners just in case. It turns out Tom cottoned on to what she was doing and wanted to stop her. He also wants to lure Harry to the Chamber to kill him personally and knows Hermione is Harry's friend.
    You'd Expect: He would leave a note with Harry taunting him to come in revenge, perhaps with Ginny writing it again on the walls where the victims are found. Perhaps a hint about a certain bathroom?
    Instead: Tom simply compels Ginny to petrify Hermione and Penelope Clearwater.
    The Result: Thanks to more restrictions, there is no way Harry and Ron can just go to Moaning Myrtle's toilet, as they figure out later that she was the murder victim. Harry also finds the piece of paper in Hermione's hand that gives him and Ron the information they need.
  • Tom Riddle's ghost has returned. Harry, who is convinced Tom is his friend, tells them they need to run before the basilisk comes, and take an unconscious Ginny with them. Tom then reveals that he is Lord Voldemort, a specter of his young self, and that he can control the basilisk. He has also confiscated Harry's wand, leaving a twelve-year-old boy virtually defenseless. Fawkes then arrives, along with the Sorting Hat. Tom snickers that loyalty to Dumbledore brought Harry such useless assistance.
    You'd Expect: Given that Tom's ghost is later shown to be capable of magic, he would finish what he tried to twelve years ago and simply blast Harry with a Killing Curse (or any other lethal magical action he can use in this state). At the very least, he could restrain Harry like Quirrell did in book one so he can't run or wield a weapon, as well as getting rid of the bird and burning the hat.
    Instead: Tom summons the basilisk, with his orders giving Harry an unwitting Mercy Lead, and steps back to Pass the Popcorn as the giant snake chases Harry around with intent to kill. He does nothing with Fawkes or the hat.
    The Result: Fawkes pecks out the basilisk's eyes, and the Sorting Hat summons the sword of Gryffindor for Harry. Harry doesn't look a gift sword in the mouth, grabs it, and manages to fatally stab the snake while getting bitten. He gets healed by Fawkes, and only then Tom thinks of using magic against him, but not before Harry stabs the diary with a basilisk fang, destroying it and Tom along with it.

    Prisoner of Azkaban 

    Goblet of Fire 

    Order of the Phoenix 

    Half-Blood Prince 

    Deathly Hallows 

    The Tales of Beedle the Bard 
  • In "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump", a muggle king starts a mass persecution of witches and wizards while issuing a proclamation asking for someone to come and teach him magic. A con man soon shows up, claiming to be a powerful wizard.
    You'd Expect: The king to realize that with the persecutions going on, no magic user with any common sense would come forward and essentially put a bulls-eye on himself, or help the king who's been persecuting his brethren.
    Instead: He buys the charlatan's claims hook, line, and sinker, and gives him lots of valuable goodies while getting nothing in return.
  • In "The Tale of the Three Brothers", the eldest of the three receives a supremely powerful wand. Its power is soon demonstrated when he uses it to kill one of his enemies.
    You'd Expect: For him to not draw excessive attention to himself and his new weapon, essentially keeping it as an "ace in the hole".
    Instead: He gets drunk and blabs about it to everyone, giving someone else the idea to take it while he's asleep and kill him for good measure.

    Cursed Child 
  • Draco since the events of Book Seven has turned over a new leaf; he has renounced his Death Eater nature for real (unlike his father), has married someone who isn't a pureblood bigot, and raised a kind son named Scorpius. There is just one problem: due to Draco's List of Transgressions, and what his father did, the odds are stacked against people believing that Draco has truly reformed or that Scorpius is a good kid. The Second War also claimed a lot of lives and souls, and for better or for worse, Draco evaded most of the consequences of enabling a murderous regime, even if he was just a kid at the time.
    You'd Expect: Draco to have truly made amends for all of his actions, like the whole implying that Death Eaters would torture a teenage Hermione for being Muggleborn, getting Buckbeak sentenced to death to hurt Hagrid, poisoning and cursing two students, and being involved with Umbridge.
    Instead: Draco isolates his family and lives on their fortune, focusing on internal character growth rather than damage control, and he doesn't make amends to the victims of his family's actions.
    The Result: With few exceptions, most people believe the Malfoys can't be trusted, with Harry's niece Rose representing a portion of the suspicion. Harry has forgiven Draco for nearly killing Katie Bell and Ron back in sixth year, but understandably, a lot of the Wizarding World hasn't. Harry also refuses to go the extra mile for Draco, for this reason, even when Scorpius is the victim of outlandish accusations.
  • In the beginning of the book, Rose-Granger Weasley and Albus Severus Potter are on the train to Hogwarts. They encounter Scorpius Malfoy, who, unlike his father, is a dorky Nice Guy: he offers them sweets and says his mother told him to do that to make friends. Albus immediately likes him, but Rose has lots of reasons to not trust a Malfoy, especially after the war and with Malfoy Manor being used to torture her mother.
    You'd Expect: That if Rose is going to refuse to be nice to Scorpius, she would point out all the terrible things his father did as a List of Transgressions: the Inquisitorial Squad, attempt to murder Dumbledore, nearly murdering two other students in the process — including her father — letting Death Eaters into Hogwarts (which led to her uncle Bill being mauled), and pretty much evading the consequences that the other Death Eaters faced for joining with a genocidal Dark Lord. Even if it's mean and unfair to judge a child by what their parents did, Scorpius can't ignore that he has a comfy life.
    Instead: Rose cites a cock and bull rumor that Scorpius is Voldemort's son as a reason to not trust the boy.
    The Result: Albus gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech and decides to sit with Scorpius, feeling sorry for him. The rest of the play doesn't discuss Scorpius having a poisonous legacy, even if Draco has gotten better.
  • At some point, a rumour starts going around that Scorpius is the son of Lord Voldemort, fathered through the use of a Time Turner. The only things that give this theory any kind of credibility is a rumor that Scorpius's father Draco might have been infertile, and the Malfoys disappearing from public life in the months prior to Scorpius's birth, owing to the poor health of Scorpius's mother.
    You'd Expect: Anyone with even a hint of common sense to either take this theory with a pinch of salt, or disregard it for the unfounded nonsense it is.
    Instead: It's believed by enough of the wizarding world for Scorpius to be bullied over it in school. And not just the general masses, but even Amos and Harry entertain the theory as well.
  • Following on from the above point, Draco understandably wants to put a stop to the rumours about his son's parentage once and for all, so he asks Harry for the Ministry's help in the matter.
    You'd Expect: Harry to take advantage of the numerous ways he could go about solving this, even if the wizarding world doesn't have the equivalent of a DNA test. He could follow Malfoy's quite reasonable suggestion and make a public statement about how all the Ministry's Time Turners were destroyed during Order of the Phoenix. Or he could investigate the original source of the rumours and perhaps go about discrediting them — he is Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, after all. Or he could suggest that Malfoy take Veritaserum and publicly testify about his ability to father a kid. In any case, he could at least do something.
    Instead: Harry's response is to do absolutely nothing, on the basis that "if you answer the gossip, you feed the gossip" — nevermind that a year or two of this is quite clearly shown to have not worked.
  • Prior to the start of his fourth year, Albus, resentful of having to live under Harry's shadow, gets into a heated argument with his father. The argument ends with Harry claiming, in the heat of the moment, that he sometimes wishes Albus wasn't his son. He immediately tries to take it back, but Albus just assumes that his father is serious about not wanting him. Later on, Albus (in disguise) brings the matter up with Hermione, who remarks that sometimes, people just say things they don't mean.
    You'd Expect: Albus would figure out, upon hearing this, that Harry does care about him, even if they have their occasional differences. After all, regardless of whether he's done a good job of it, Harry's tried his best to support his son over the last few years, and until now, never said anything along the lines of I Have No Son!.
    Instead: It flies completely over Albus's head, and he continues to delude himself into thinking he's an unwanted child.
  • Albus and Scorpius plan to use a more potent version of the Time Turner to travel back to the events of Goblet of Fire and prevent Cedric from being killed by Wormtail and Voldemort. They both know that the murder happened due to Cedric grabbing the Triwizard Cup in the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, and being portkeyed to Voldemort alongside Harry.
    You'd Expect: That with this knowledge in mind, the two of them would focus their efforts on stopping Cedric from laying a finger on the cup during the third task.
    Instead: Both of their attempts to save Cedric consist of them sabotaging and humiliating him during the first two tasks of the tournament, never mind that at most, this would only slightly impair Cedric's chances of reaching the cup first, due to the tournament's structure.
    As A Result: The first attempt does little more than prevent Ron and Hermione from getting together and starting their family, while the second attempt creates an alternative timeline where an embittered Cedric joined the Death Eaters and killed Neville during the Battle of Hogwarts, resulting in Voldemort ruling the Wizarding World.
  • While searching for Albus and Scorpius following their escape from the Hogwarts Express, Harry encounters Bane, who warns him that a "dark cloud" surrounds Albus. After finding Albus, Harry seeks advice from a portrait of Dumbledore, who suggests that Harry's love for Albus has blinded him, and that Harry should look for the source of Albus's inner hurt. At this point in time, Albus is dealing with a number of personal issues, namely an inability to make friends and fit in at Hogwarts, resentment at having to live in his father's shadow, and a mistaken belief that his father doesn't love him.
    You'd Expect: Harry would figure out that the "dark cloud" likely refers to Albus's myriad of personal issues.
    Instead: Harry somehow comes to the conclusion that Scorpius is the "dark cloud" in question, and is therefore a threat to Albus. Bear in mind that besides his interpretation of Bane's words, his only logic is the possibility that Scorpius might be Voldemort's son, a theory that — as has been mentioned before — has almost no evidence to support it.
    Then: He proceeds to deconstruct the Papa Wolf trope by forcing Albus to avoid Scorpius — who just so happens to be his only friend at Hogwarts — even bullying the Hogwarts Headmistress into changing school timetables and keeping an eye on the boys with the Marauder's Map in order to keep them apart.
    Naturally: All this does is worsen the situation.
  • The Augurey is ultimately revealed to be planning to use the Time Turner to alter history and prevent Voldemort from being killed.
    You'd Expect: Them to take advantage of the many ways they could do this, on their own, while leaving everyone else none the wiser. They could go back and either knock off Harry before the Battle of Hogwarts, or forewarn Voldemort that attempting to kill baby Harry will not end well for him (in fairness, they do eventually try the latter).
    Instead: They insist on following through with a prophecy that requires Albus to bring about the events of a Bad Future. While the Augurey is able to manipulate him and Scorpius into unknowingly doing this, they don't take into account Scorpius having regrets and using the Time Turner to undo his and Albus's mistakes.
    You'd Then Expect: The Augurey to realise their folly, and decide to rewrite history on their own, prophecy be damned.
    Instead: Still wanting to fulfill the prophecy, the Augurey kidnaps Albus and tries to force him to play his part in the prophecy, by having him perform a task the Augurey could quite easily do themselves. The Augurey doesn't even do something like put Albus under the Imperius Curse, on the basis that it would mean not following the prophecy to the letter.
    Unsurprisingly: Albus and Scorpius refuse to cooperate and end up sabotaging the plan. At which point it finally occurs to the Augurey that they DON'T need to follow through with a prophecy in order to prevent Voldemort's death.
  • The climax. The Augurey and Harry face off inside a church. The Augurey manages to trap Harry's allies outside the building with a spell that seals the church doors and seemingly prevents Harry's allies from magically unlocking them from their side.
    You'd Expect: They would simply apparate inside the church. Or just blast down the doors or walls with Reducto. They can quite easily repair the damage before any muggles notice it.
    Instead: They have Albus magically open the doors from inside the church, putting him at huge risk of being killed by a murderous villain.

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