Ah, Harry Potter. The worldwide phenomenon that made its author one of the best-selling fiction writers of all time. In fact, Rowling currently holds the ninth spot, well above names such as Stephen King and J. R. R. Tolkien.
I still remember my first experience with the series. I must have been about ten years old and I was immediately drawn into it; I just couldn’t put the book down. Since then, I have read some of Harry’s adventures well over 20 times. Come to think about it, I could have done something far more productive with this time, like playing video games for example.
Still, the wizarding world had such a charm that I just couldn’t help but to fall in love with it. Since my first encounter with it, I have read all the books, watched all the films, and played nearly all of the games that have come out. Yes, I include those for the Game Boy Advance. And I absolutely cannot wait for Niantic’s Pokémon-GO-esque Harry Potter AR game.
But, as magical and enticing the Harry Potter series may be, it is very far from perfect. Leaving the regular plot holes and the handful of unanswered questions aside, there are some aspects of this now-legendary magical world that are, if not downright scandalous, then at least a quite inappropriate.
So, from obvious prejudice, through unquestioned slavery, all the way to controversial love relationships, here are 25 inappropriate things in the Harry Potter universe, you never thought about.
25 Slavery Is Perfectly Okay
I already mentioned slavery in the introduction, so let’s start with that, shall we? I think we all know already that I am talking about house elves - the cute little creatures helping wizards with their household chores.
Of course, “helping” is far from the correct term here, considering the elves actually do everything around the house - cooking, laundry, cleaning, whatever you can think of. Yet, do they get paid for it? Of course not. They are house elves; they don’t even need proper clothes.
That is, of course, until Hermione finds out about it. It took a muggle-born wizard, one that was actually thought basic morale and decency, to put an end to this oppressive regime. And even when other wizards mocked her for it, she kept fighting for the rights of these poor creatures. This is why she is the true hero of the series.
24 The Weasley Cartel
The Weasley family are obviously of the good guys in the story. They try to put an end to the Voldemort threat, help Harry whatever way they can, and even accepted The Boy Who Lived as one of their own sons. Or are they, really?
When the infamous Weasley twins left Hogwarts, the duo started their own business - Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. This so-called “joke shop” sells a variety of items, one of which happens to be love potions. Now, considering these are usually used to make someone love you against their will. Yikes.
The worst thing about it is that the Ministry of Magic has yet to ban those or restrict their usage in any way. So, if it’s not protecting other wizards, what is the government doing all day?
23 They Are Always Watching
Here’s a message to the conspiracy theorists out there - never stop believing. Our own governments might not be watching us all the time (does this get me off the hook, NSA?), but apparently, wizards in the UK are not as lucky as us.
The Ministry of Magic is always watching you; especially if you are underage. Just stop and think for a moment, how fast Harry received his warning for practicing magic outside Hogwarts. Assuming they needed a couple of minutes to send it out, and a few more for it to arrive, they must have instantly detected Harry’s crime and immediately known that it was him that did it.
How can this be, you might ask? It is quite simple, really. Similarly to Sting during his The Police years, the wizard government is watching every step you take.
22 Gringotts Needs Better Regulation
Say whatever you may about Voldemort, but sometimes even he did have a point. The perfect example of this is his decision to put Gringotts under the Ministry’s control when he took the government over.
On the other hand, the good guys let the only bank in the wizarding world operate completely independently. This meant that the Gringotts goblins could do whatever they pleased. So, no matter if you are good or evil, criminal or law-abiding citizen, you were more than welcome at Gringotts. Assuming, of course, you had enough cash.
So, why did wizards stand for this? Well, it’s not like they had much of a choice. Gringotts had already established a monopoly over the banking business in the entire wizarding world, so there were no other options.
21 Hogwarts Also Needs Better Regulation...
Speaking of lack of control, let us look towards Hogwarts itself - the UK’s only school of witchcraft and wizardry. Or, should we call it the only magical military academy in the United Kingdom.
Just think about it - each student is walking around with a weapon in their pocket, with which they can cast a plethora of curses on staff and other students alike. What’s more, there seems to be a complete disregard for safety. There is a forest full of dangerous creatures of the night, three-headed dogs are being raised in the school itself, and every year a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher turns out to be a wanted criminal.
Considering the students at Hogwarts are immature teenagers, I am surprised so many of them survived to see an actual attack on the school and were not killed in gruesome accidents.
20 … And Better Supervision
Leaving the life-threatening scenarios aside, students at Hogwarts really need some better supervision. It is never a good idea to leave a bunch of 16-year-olds run around and do whatever they want half the time. They could get themselves in all kinds of trouble.
Just take the end credits of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for example. In them, while the credits were rolling over the Marauder’s Map in the background, we can clearly see two students locked up in a closet in the lower left corner.
Now, that in itself is not that weird; they could be hiding from Filch, for example. However, the position of their feet leaves little to the imagination. There were clearly some hormones at work there and these two should not be left alone, with no teacher supervision, at any time.
19 He Watched Ron Sleep
Speaking of the Marauder’s Map, let’s take a moment to examine Fred and George’s experience with it. They had the map in their possession for five years in total, during three of which their baby brother and his pet rat were in the castle.
However, knowing that the rat is actually Peter Pettigrew and the Marauder’s Map reflects that accurately, we can’t help but wonder why neither of the allegedly genius twins found it odd that an unknown man sleeps in their brother’s room every night.
Of course, we already established the duo of barons is not to be trusted. So, maybe, just maybe, they knew and still did nothing about it. I guess the Weasley twins are far worse than I originally suspected.
18 And She Watched Them Bathe
But Peter Pettigrew is far from the only creep in the castle. While it is unlikely that he enjoyed his time as a rat, one occupant of Hogwarts is more than happy to spy on underage boys while they take a bath.
Obviously, I am talking about Moaning Myrtle - the extremely annoying ghost that shows complete disregard for people’s privacy and basic decency. She actually admitted to watching Harry and Cedric Diggory take baths.
That is not only creepy but also disturbing on so many levels. First, they are underage; second, there was an obvious lack of consent on their part; and third, Myrtle is underage herself. Now, one could argue that she is a ghost that has been haunting the school for decades, but she still died as a teenager and that makes her underage in my book.
17 Not Making The Olympics Anytime Soon
We are not even halfway through the list of safety hazards in Hogwarts. However, we might have just reached the most obvious one. Quidditch - the most popular sport in the wizarding world - should have been banned from schools centuries ago.
Stop and think about it for a second. 12-year-old students are given glorified flying sticks that can take them tens of meters above ground. Then, they are encouraged to fly at high speeds, pulling off insane stunts, and throwing a big red ball around. In the meantime, four of them are tasked with hurling huge chunks of metal at their opponents, while they are already risking their lives by riding a magical branch, way too far from solid ground.
If I have to be perfectly honest, this sounds more like a gladiator fight than a sport.
16 Not The Brightest Headmaster In History
Now that we have covered all the problems with the school itself, let us take a look at one of the many reasons for them to actually exist - Albus Dumbledore.
Sure, the man was a genius wizard, probably the greatest of all time, but he was probably the worst Headmaster in history. To prove my point, let us take a look at his biggest failure - The Chamber of Secrets.
How come, a 100-something-year-old master of all magic failed to find a huge underground section in his own school? A section which, by the way, was found by two of his students. One of them even did it when he was twelve when he didn’t even know magic existed two years prior to that.
If this doesn’t convince you that Dumbledore is unfit for a Headmaster, then read on. I have plenty more proof.
15 He Knows Nothing About Teenagers
For someone who’s been teaching for so many years, Dumbledore knows very little about how teenagers behave. Even I know that once you show them it’s okay to break rules and ignore orders, they will keep doing it, probably for the rest of their lives.
Yet, Albus decided that the best approach towards Harry is to allow him to break rules for six consecutive years at school. He gave him the Cloak of Invisibility when he was 11, then proceeded to award him every time he ignored his teacher’s orders and went chasing after Voldemort and his followers.
Despite all this, near the end of his life, Dumbledore still expected that the boy would follow his lead and do what he is told. Rookie mistake there, Albus.
14 He Seriously Needs An HR Team
If you want a career at Hogwarts, you are in luck. It appears that anyone can get a job there. We’ve seen several current or previous Death Eaters teaching at the school, as well as a half-giant who didn’t even graduate, and an actual centaur (we will talk about those a bit later).
However, the worst hire Dumbledore ever made has to be Gilderoy Lockhart. I am certain that the Headmaster was perfectly aware of Lockhart’s complete lack of skill and competency. Yet, he still decided to give him a job. And not just any job, but one that is vital to the future survival of his students.
So, not only that he doesn’t know what is going on at his own school, but he is also perfectly okay with hiring teachers that are completely unfit for their positions. Still, it gets worse.
13 He Sent A Man To His Death
While we’re on the subject of Dumbledore and Gilderoy Lockhart, we cannot help but mention that one time the Headmaster sent the writer to his death. Actually, Lockhart didn’t die, but he could have.
Just before Harry and Ron went to enter the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore actually let Lockhart look for it on his own. If it was any other Hogwarts teacher, that would be perfectly reasonable. After all, they are some of the greatest witches and wizards of their time.
However, the entire staff allowed a known impostor to wander the dangerous school alone, in search of a dark room of horrors. Of course, it was highly unlikely for him to succeed on his own. Yet, the chance still existed and the Hogwarts staff was willing to take that risk. That makes all of them just as evil as Voldemort himself.
12 There Is An Actual Evil-Only House
Talking about what the staff knew (yet, blatantly ignored), shall we discuss the matter of the Slytherin house? I mean, everyone knows they’re evil. If not that, then they are the children of evil wizards, at the very least.
Their infamy spreads to such an extent that, during the battle of Hogwarts, they were all locked up in the dungeon, so they do not have the chance to help Voldemort. And, let me tell you, this is wrong on so many levels.
First of all, it discriminates a whole quarter of the students. Locking them up effectively labels them as supporters of Voldemort for life. Also, if they are in fact all evil, the entire staff chose to ignore this for centuries. They just pretended they are not raising a dark wizard’s future army, despite knowing better than that.
11 Equality? What Is That?
Discrimination seems to be a serious issue in the wizarding world. Especially towards non-wizards. House elves might be treated like slaves, but muggles are in a much tougher situation.
Every time a muggle witnesses something magical, they are being assaulted by the Ministry of Magic. Then, their memory of the encounter is completely wiped before they are released into the wild again. Basically, we are being treated like cattle that cannot comprehend the majestic nature of its wizarding overlords. We are not given a free choice when it comes to magical matters unless someone we are related to is a wizard. And even then, we might be considered unworthy of the knowledge.
Well, guess what, wizards and witches, you are not that smart either. I have proof of it too unless you wipe my memory of it before I present it.
10 Pens Are Confusing
Wizards think they’re all better than us, just because they can wave a wand around and make things do themselves. However, they cannot be more wrong.
First of all, doing everything with magic is not genius, it’s lazy. Second, you might have your Quick-Quotes Quills, but I actually know how a pen works; I do not rely on magic to do my dishes because I know what the sponge is for; and last, but not least, I do know the purpose of a rubber duck is. Basically, anything that involves technology seems to confuse these otherwise-brilliant minds.
And here’s a quick message to Arthur Weasley: that is not how cars work, sir. Your brooms are supposed to fly, cars should stay grounded. Know your boundaries, wizards.
9 Those Poor, Poor Animals
Still, we cannot complain. Neither can house elves. At least we get to continue our lives, unlike all the animals the wizards have been eating. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegetarian myself, but if I was a wizard, I would have seriously considered it.
In both the books and the movies, there are several examples that animals are just as intelligent as humans. Harry is able to have a full conversation with a snake, spiders can talk and form complex societies, owls know the recipients of their message by name, and so on. Yet, wizards have yet to give up meat.
I guess Darwin didn’t consider this option when he described the mechanism of natural selection. Still, I cannot help but wonder, how long will it take for wizards to transition from sentient animals to other intelligent species?
8 It’s All About Tennis
Now, let us lighten the mood a little bit. The next few entries in this list will be all about love (kind of), but first, let’s take a look at a small joke some movie prop master managed to sneak into the Harry Potter franchise.
As you have probably seen from the image above, Harry sure loves reading about muggle sports. In this case, the article on the front page of his newspaper seems to be about tennis, if we are to believe the image on the page. However, the headline, which reads "Balls Judged Too Big" leaves me wondering whether we are talking about the same thing.
Of course, this is all a light-hearted joke that the movie crew decided to play on us. Still, it’s an interesting approach towards humor, considering the predominantly young audience that watched the movies at their release.
7 The Wrong Way To Meet Celebrities
Here is the first entry in the list that covers the subject of love in the wizarding world. However, I will let you figure out for yourself how it is connected to the greatest feeling in the universe. So, let us talk about polyjuice potions.
You know, that mix of special magical ingredients that, combined with the hair of a person, allow you to assume their appearance for a limited time. I am sure you have already figured out what creative uses it can have. Also, I am pretty certain that there is a black market out there, specializing in trading celebrity hair, specifically for the creation of polyjuice potions.
And don’t even get me started on what happens when you mix up a human hair and an animal one. Remember Cat-Hermione?
6 Speaking Of Half-Animals…
Remember Firenze, the centaur that saved Harry during his first trip in the Forbidden Forest? If you have watched the movies, but haven’t read the books, you might not know that at some point in his life, he actually taught Divination at Hogwarts. So far, so good. I am all for diversity in the workplace.
What makes it weird, though, is how some of the female students accepted their new teacher. Some of them actually had quite the crush on Firenze. I guess they were ready to forget about him being half a horse.
Still, they were a bunch of teenage girls. I guess they could just as easily have a crush on a stone wall. Yet, I find it quite disturbing that no one decided to even talk to them about it.
5 It’s Not Just The Girls
Being a teenager can be quite confusing at times. I guess we should excuse the girls that crushed on Firenze, especially considering that they weren’t the only ones to fall in love too quickly. Even almost-grown men and world-famous athletes are guilty of this.
Enter, Viktor Krum, the seeker for the Bulgarian national team and prized pupil of his school of wizardry. His short-lived relationship with Hermione might have meant far more to him than it did to her.
When the Triwizard contestants reached their second challenge, they had to rescue loved ones from the depths of the local lake. The other three contestants had their sister, girlfriend, and best friend kidnapped for the challenge. Krum, on the other hand, had to save Hermione, a girl he met literally a couple of weeks ago. At least he didn’t say he loves her on the first date.
4 The Greatest Villain Since Hannibal Lecter
Now, I know that I said all other entries will be about love and you might argue that this one is not. However, a writer’s love for a character is also love.
This is (sort of) the case with Stephen King and the despised-by-everyone Dolores Umbridge. Umbridge’s time as Headmistress of Hogwarts might have been short, but she certainly left a mark in a lot of young reader’s minds. There are few characters that are so well-written that everyone universally hates them.
In fact, she is so well-designed as an antagonist that, in his review of Order of the Phoenix, Stephen King called her “the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.” Once the king of horror says something like that for one of your characters, you can safely retire; you are not going to write anything much better than that.
3 The Great Villain’s Not-So-Great Ending
However, as much as we hate Umbridge, we cannot say that what she got at the end of The Order of the Phoenix was deserved. In case you are not into mythology, you might just think that she got dragged away into the forest by the centaurs and we’ll never know what they did to her. However, keen-eyed readers that also happen to know this and that about centaurs have a very solid theory.
In case you are not familiar with mythology, let us give you a brief rundown. Centaurs are known for doing certain things to women that would be considered gruesome and overly cruel. If the old legends are to be believed, it is kind of their whole shebang.
So, when we later see Umbridge in the books, she appears to have suffered a severe psychological trauma but looks physically okay. I’m sure you can do the maths.
2 The Mechanics Behind Half-Giants
There is a reason why we only see two half-giants in the entire Harry Potter series. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Hagrid has to be special, in order for him to remain likable.
Have you taught about how a half-giant would come into existence? Especially in Hagrid’s case, considering his father was deemed tiny even by human standards. The two questions that pop into my mind are the following: is there a spell that helps with that; and who told Hagrid’s father that wooing a giant is actually a good idea?
Still, it could have been far worse. The roles could have been reversed, with Hagrid’s mom being the human instead. I shiver in terror just when thinking about it.
1 From Half-Horses To Full Goats
If you were a child when you first read the Harry Potter books, this one probably went right over your head. However, if you were at the age where complex jokes didn’t pass you by, you might remember that Albus Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, was once caught using “inappropriate charms on a goat.”
In case you still don’t quite understand what that means or you believe we might be taking it out of context, here is what Rowling herself told an 8-year-old boy when he asked about the specifics of the incident.
“I think he was trying to make a goat that was easy to clean, curly horns. That’s a joke that works on a couple of levels. […] So, that is my answer to YOU.”
She also made sure to ask the boy’s exact age before answering.