The Harry Potter series’ reach is immense in such a way that here we are in 2018 and we’re still talking about it as if a new novel has been released today. Although the explosive hype surrounding a new novel is a thing of memory, the fandom’s flare for the franchise will never wither away. The series has now expanded from simply Harry Potter into the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s release in 2016 showed the franchise was long from over and fans loved every minute of it too. With that film’s sequel due out soon there are still many exciting sights left to be seen such as Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s epic duel. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s release in 2016 also showed us the Wizarding World in the near future and the consequences of all that had transpired before.
Although the end result really kind of sucked, Cursed Child did give us a lot to think about. Fantastic Beasts itself has retconned some of the established storylines from Harry Potter with few people happy about it while others not-so-happy. The original series itself wasn’t free of plots that weren’t the best it could offer. Over time, fans have taken to debating which plotline led to the best outcome and which led to the worst.
Taking all that into consideration, we’ve compiled 13 Storylines that hurt the Harry Potter series and 13 that ended up saving it.
26 Hurt: Voldemort’s Daughter
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will go down as one of the biggest cash grabs in history. The play caused a surge of excitement as it marked the next canonical story in the series and was even published as a book.
It was little more than fan fiction.
All the worst parts of the fanboy imagination was realized with the play, and culminated in the reveal of Voldemort’s daughter. At no point was there ever any indication that Voldemort was interested in those sort of relations and Delphini’s existence contradicts a lot of Voldemort’s characterization.
25 Saved: Snape And Lily
With just one chapter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Severus Snape became the darling of the fandom. Everything he had done over the course of the series was brought into a new light, and the most tragic love story was birthed.
There wasn’t anyone in the fan community who didn’t well up at Snape’s admission of “always” loving Lily. His selflessness due to devotion to Lily’s memory represents the best of Harry Potter’s message – Love conquers all. Years since the last book, this story remains the best redemption arc a character has gone through.
24 Hurt: Albus Severus
It was obvious in the few pages we were acquainted with Albus Potter in Deathly Hallows that this boy was a Grade-A Whiner.
His problems weren’t actual problems.
By the time he was in Hogwarts, there wasn’t much of a stigma surrounding the Slytherin house. His issues with being the son of the famous Potter was something his older brother would have gone through too, but James Potter never complained over nothing like this annoying kid. Cursed Child would’ve been bearable had Albus Potter not survived its events.
23 Saved: Cedric Diggory Perishing
This moment marked the shift in the series. We had grown up with the Harry Potter novels and by the time Goblet of Fire had ended, we were ready for more mature themes. Cedric Diggory’s perishing signified that problems don’t always get magically fixed. It also marked a turn toward more grown-up-manner of thinking.
Kids were encouraged to welcome trials and adversity in the face of bigger problems. The Harry Potter series then began taking more liberties in the topic of sacrifice and losing loved ones. Cedric Diggory passing away prepared us for the darker things along the way.
22 Hurt: Harry’s Love For Ginny
There are some things even Rowling couldn’t introduce organically. Ginny was unhealthily obsessed with Harry from Books one through five; he never gave her any consideration.
By the sixth novel, she became the perfect girl.
It didn’t make sense how at the end of Order of the Phoenix-set in June-Harry didn’t think much of her. Yet, in Half-Blood Prince-set from July-Ginny conquered all of Harry’s thoughts. Ginny became feisty, but she was also too flared up to be charming. Regardless of that, Harry suddenly falling madly in love with her was completely out of place.
21 Saved: Snape Taking Dumbledore’s Life
We had a safe space with Dumbledore’s status as the most powerful wizard who ever lived. As long as Dumbledore was around, Voldemort couldn’t take over the world.
All this changed when Snape was the one to take Dumbledore’s life. In an instant, Dumbledore’s complete trust in Snape-which the audience shared-was shattered. We began doubting ourselves and questioned how we could’ve overlooked Snape as being the bad guy all along.
The final twist of his true allegiance, and of Dumbledore’s master planning, was all the better thanks to this moment.
20 Hurt: James Potter’s Personality
Harry was all of Lily Potter in personality, only having inherited James Potter’s looks. His father, meanwhile, was thoroughly unlikable. From what we know of James, he was hardly anything more than a bully who got the girl from the guy who deserved her more.
James was a jerk who lorded over less talented people than himself.
Upon his first chronological appearance in Snape’s memory, he had displayed his entitled brat persona. He made Snape’s life at Hogwarts miserable and never seemed to have changed much, despite everyone else claiming he had.
19 Saved: Kreacher’s Motivations To Betray Sirius
Sirius showed his best qualities around Harry, toward whom he was perhaps the most loving father figure anyone could have been. But Sirius regressed into his bullying antics around Snape and Kreacher. It was during these moments we saw how cruel he was capable of being.
Kreacher craved adoration and respect; something Regulus had given him. It made total sense why he betrayed Sirius as Black never gave him any reason not to. It was a superb showing by Rowling that victims can retaliate in terrible ways and that we should always take responsibility for our behavior.
18 Hurt: Time Turner In Cursed Child
Some boundaries had been set for Time Turner usage in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, all of which perfectly explained how Hermione and Harry had saved both Sirius and Buckbeak without ever changing the original timeline. Cursed Child ruined every precedent set for the Time Turner.
Somehow, we’re supposed to believe the Time Turner is capable of grand rewinds and butterfly effects that regularly alter both past and present. The terribly depicted usage of the Time Turner in the play only made the object appear like a locket version of Marty McFly’s Delorean from Back to the Future.
17 Saved: Time Turner In Prisoner Of Azkaban
The original implementation of the Time Turner was spectacularly depicted. Hermione’s frequent appearances and disappearances throughout Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was kept away from notice-although many subtle hints were sprinkled-and brought out for the proper moment.
There were no plotholes in the Time Turner’s usage here.
Sirius and Buckbeak’s great escape was a tale for the ages, making Prisoner of Azkaban a happy story of good triumphing over impossible odds. It also showed us how justice can’t be served right, but you can escape to fight another day given the right tools and the right friends.
16 Hurt: Nagini Being A Human
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them continues to retcon established storylines in the Wizard World universe. When before Newt Scamander was never supposed to be involved in taking down Grindelwald, now he’s the main character.
Similarly, Nagini now has her own backstory in the form of her being a Maledictus. This means she’s a human who will one day become a permanent snake. Had this backstory been given in the novels it might have been easier to stomach, but this sudden origin feels nothing more than adding weight to a prequel whose end result we’re all aware of.
15 Saved: The Prophecy Story
Looking back, it should’ve been obvious why Voldemort was so obsessed with taking Harry’s life. It couldn’t have been a freak coincidence that he simply chose to make Harry his target. The prophecy gave us a set template for the final confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist.
It meant that Harry would have no choice but to one-day battle Voldemort to the very end. This may have been everyone’s expectation, but the reasoning behind Voldemort’s motives were revealed because of the prophecy and we were armed with the guaranteed knowledge of a final showdown.
14 Hurt: Scorpius' Crush On Rose Weasley
Another exasperating case of fan fiction brought into canonical grounds. Fangirls had always fawned over the idea of Draco and Hermione falling for each other, despite there being no chance of this ever happening. Following on that notion, several fanfictions suggested the same would happen for their children.
The terrible play cemented this idea.
Here, Scorpius Malfoy had a maddening crush on Rose Weasley. In order to make us sympathize with Scorpius, his personality was made more toned down than his father and Scorpius was paired with Albus as his best friend. Still doesn’t make the story any less crappy.
13 Saved: Dumbledore And Grindelwald’s Story
Dumbledore was finally given his deserved backstory in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and it was in a way no one would have anticipated. He was revealed to have been in a romantic relationship with Grindelwald, with the dysfunctional relationship blowing apart due to Arianna perishing.
Dumbledore’s reluctance to face Grindelwald (mentioned in passing beforehand) was given shape and form. The Deathly Hallows themselves were brought into significance this way as well; Fantastic Beasts 2 now has more intrigue as people want to see this relationship unfold onscreen. A full prequel focusing on Dumbledore and Grindelwald doesn’t sound bad either.
12 Hurt: Hufflepuff Portrayed As Losers
Gryffindor and Slytherin were fully fleshed out in the Harry Potter series. Ravenclaw had a defined trait of intelligence; Luna’s inclusion only brought us more depth in this matter.
Hufflepuff house was always just there.
Up until the very end, their reputation was mainly just of them being “dunderheads”. Cedric Diggory was an excellent defiance of this trope but he too was disposed of like he didn’t matter much. After his departure, there wasn’t any other Hufflepuff character given time to shine. Newt Scamander’s role as protagonist now at least offers some more insight into the mind of a Hufflepuff.
11 Saved: Corruption In The Ministry
The Ministry of Magic had been introduced in the first three books as a voice of reason and understanding.
This was all a front to promote relations with the Boy Who Lived as long as he was useful. From the fifth book, the Ministry’s corrupt activities such as falsely accusing individuals, smear campaigns, and crimes against humanity were revealed. The Ministry’s influence over the public using fear and extortion was highlighted as were corrupt people like Umbridge. This was a reflection of the very real corruption in our society.
10 Hurt: Focus On Bellatrix In The Movies
Bellatrix was more or less the same as Voldy and fiercely devoted to him till the very end. This made her a fascinating character. She was madly in love with him and this madness was shown in the movies. However, the films put too much focus on her and she was integrated into scenes she was never part of in the novels. A whole incident at the Burrow was made just to give her more screentime. This wasn’t needed and did nothing to further what we already knew of her character.
9 Saved: Xenophobia Of The Wizards
As the books progressed, it became clear that wizards in general thought themselves to be superior to non-magic folk. The most radicals were supremacists who desired to make Muggles their property.
This was a fictional representation by Rowling of the xenophobia that surrounds the real world as well. There are people out there who think they are superior to others simply because of being born in a certain country or in a certain family. The error in the pureblood manner of thinking formed much of the underlying themes of the novels.
8 Hurt: The Ludicrous Format Of The TriWizard Tournament
The grand plan of Voldemort to have Harry delivered to him in the Goblet of Fire wasn’t as much cleverness as it was due to the stupid format.
The TriWizard tournament would never be enjoyable for a normal human being. Only the First Task provided some theatrics but the Second and Third had none of the sort. All the spectators did were stare at the empty river or look on at tall hedges that hid away any of the ongoings of the task. The format was begging for an accident waiting to happen and Barty Crouch Jr. made full use of this.
7 Saved: Harry And The DA
Although some call Order of the Phoenix overly long, it did have fantastic developments in character. All of the members of the Dumbledore’s Army showcased the best qualities in them. The ones who weren’t loyal, such as Cho and her sneak friend, had their true personalities shown.
The DA also showed us just how capable Harry was.
His powers in defense and dueling were unmatched by his peers. This also separated Harry from Hermione in that it was made clear that the former could best her in combat and was the deserved leader in times of adversity.
6 Hurt: Cutting Out Aberforth’s Backstory In The Movie
The final two movies were split apart mainly because it seemed impossible to accurately tell the story of Deathly Hallows in just one film. However, there were still many memorable points from the plot cut out. Most of all might be Dumbledore’s backstory, which wasn’t given much of a spotlight.
Aberforth was treated with more disrespect than due consideration, something that hadn’t happened in the novel. This also meant cutting out the story of Ariana, Aberforth and Albus. It’s a shame really.
5 Saved: Hermione’s Characterization
Hermione’s development from that annoying girl in class who you can’t tolerate to the one person you turn to in times of crises was beautiful. She stuck with Harry all the time he was struggling with the Horcruxes, even when Ron abandoned them.
Without Hermione, Harry would never have survived.
It was due to her he even got to Voldemort in the first book. In the coming years, Hermione was the one whose ingenious capabilities got our heroes out of certain doom.
4 Hurt: Cutting Out Dudley’s Development
Dudley never had much to show for himself once the first part was done away with. By the end of the series, he was more or less just there to show Harry’s time back at Privet Drive. However, Dudley won everyone’s hearts in his final appearance when he acknowledged Harry’s right as a real person.
His admission of not thinking of his cousin as “a waste of space” showcased just how good someone can become if given a harsh reality check.
3 Saved: Horace Slughorn Defying Slytherin Tropes
Before the sixth novel, pretty much every single Slytherin shown to us had negative traits. It seemed as if the house promoted being evil or petty. Horace Slughorn was a wonderful defiance of this trope and showed us the qualities a Slytherin is supposed to have.
He was cowardly, yet returned to the Battle of Hogwarts to fight. He was extremely skillful and showed remorse for his wrong actions. Slughorn had ambition, but only kept it within acceptable limits, never preferring the spotlight himself.
2 Hurt: Rowling Repeatedly Expressing Regret On Decisions
It’s a wonder why Rowling chooses to express regrets over the way things turned out in her books. People liked the idea of Harry and Hermione being together but the prose never reflected this as much as Ron and Hermione’s pairing.
Yet, Rowling admitted she didn’t like the idea.
Evidently, she gave into the fans’ wishes and paired Ron with Hermione. Likewise, she has also expressed regret at taking out characters such as Lupin. Admitting stuff like this undermines her own creations and puts fans in a state of confusion.
1 Saved: The Film Changing The Final Battle
The canonical ending of Deathly Hallows had Harry and Voldemort engage in a short conversation before both struck the other with a spell that ended with Voldemort perishing. The films took a more theatrical approach and had everyone involved in battle while Harry and Voldemort flew across the school grounds locked in combat.
The ending also had the two duke it out alone in the central courtyard with a whole lot of drama surrounding them. This was superb as it showed off the stakes of the battle and kept the audience at the edges of their seats.