Note: All of the opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and were voiced in the spirit of good fun and for entertainment purposes.
Ah, Harry Potter. The default fandom. Judging from the magnitude of this franchise alone, it would be fair to assume that one would be hard pressed to find someone in the modern Western world who does not even have a passing knowledge of the Wizarding World and its many characters. It seems as though that at least one part of this far-reaching series has impacted each and every person in the world in some way. Whether it is a passing memory or a life-changing impact, the lasting effect is there if you look for it. I myself have dedicated the better part of my life to date to the Harry Potter series and I still find myself surprised by the sheer amount of misinformation that circulates regarding this series to this day.
From a clear misunderstanding to the mechanics and laws of the universe to a total misreading of characters, many people spend their lives spreading this inaccurate and frustrating information to any and everyone who will listen and I am here to correct that. No longer will internet forums be plagued by constant inquiries about why the time turners were not simply employed as Voldemort eliminating devices. So, without further ado, allow me to present you, the good Potterheads of the internet, with 30 things that everyone continually gets wrong about the Harry Potter series.
30 Is It Really Just A Childish Adventure?
Yes, the novels were written with a young demographic in mind. However, writing them off as childish is unfair to both the books themselves as well as children's media. Just because something is aimed at a younger audience does not mean that it is trite, silly, or something that can be brushed off entirely. Some of the most important lessons I have learned in my life are from pieces of children's media including this series. Also, becoming a certain age does not mean you have to leave the things you love behind you.
29 Are The Adults Really That Useless?
A common theme in children’s media is parentified children and incompetent adults. And though it is the children in the Wizarding World that lead the revolution, it is not because the adults are utterly useless.
The adults are flawed human beings who make mistakes and bad emotionally driven choices at times.
And the children, though powerful and courageous, are still just scared children who are just trying to do what they think is right. No one is free from faults and everyone needs someone to hold onto in the end, and that’s okay.
28 Could We Relate To The Treatment Of News?
Is the Daily Prophet an utter catastrophe of a news source that viewers should mock or is it a brilliant lesson in government-driven propaganda? When Harry and Albus say things that the ruling body does not like, the government runs a smear campaign against them in order to manipulate the populace into thinking that these highly respected figures are not to be trusted. This plot point inspires a sense of skepticism in its audience; who will, in turn, remember to view all real-world news sources with a grain of salt and question who benefits from the headlines that they are reading.
27 Is Luna Cold-Hearted?
Yes, Luna is the designated soft and quirky character within the series but I would be willing to argue that, emotionally, she is quite hard.
Now, that doesn’t mean that she is closed off or cold-hearted.
But rather that her emotions do not drive her actions or affect her decisions. She does not lament the loss of her mother. She does not seek revenge against those who’ve bullied her. She takes everything in stride and no outside forces will affect her emotional state for she is the master of her own mind.
26 Does The Series Lose Its Humor As It Goes On?
Many fans regard the first two films as the lightest in the series and note an increased darkness throughout the series. And while this is true, to a certain degree, it is important to note that the later films are also chalked full with moments of levity, silliness, and humor as well as there being a gentle darkness existing in the earlier films. Though the stakes continue to get higher throughout the series, every book and film from start to finish is filled with dark moments, heavy themes, levity, frivolity, and human moments of warmth and love.
25 Is Neville Really That Brave?
No, Neville did not suddenly develop ‘chosen one’ powers in the final film/book. He has had them all along. Do you not remember the ending of the first film/book where Dumbledore rewards Neville for having the courage to stand up to his friends?
Neville has always been strong in his own way and courageous.
Though he gained more confidence and self-worth over time, I firmly believe that the fact that he returns to class every day even after the students (and some of the teachers) spent the previous lesson mocking him shows just how brave Neville truly is.
24 Could Neville Be The Chosen One?
There is a bit of a quarrel online and within the fandom on whether or not Harry Potter truly deserves the title of “the chosen one” or if that title should go to Neville. And though my love for Neville is unyielding, I have to say that Harry Potter is the true chosen one. Why? Because Voldemort chose him. He is the chosen one in the literal sense of the word. Had Tom chose Neville all those years before, then Neville would have been the true chosen one. But he didn’t.
23 Did Voldemort Understand Love At All?
No, Voldemort was not carrying out a secret relationship with Bellatrix, Lucius, Crabbe, Snape, or any other member of the wizarding extremists of the world. Why? Because the love potion in which he was conceived under made it physically impossible for him to feel love of any kind.
Which is why Lily’s love was his greatest weakness.
He could only manipulate those around him into believing that he truly cared for them in order to get them to do his bidding until he was powerful enough that fear was an adequate replacement.
22 Are The Kids Really Any Different From The Adults?
The Harry Potter series is about the cycle of pain and how future generations can break it by love, seeking help when they need it, and by being open about the burdens that they carry around. The previous generation failed at truly eliminating Voldemort (from a metaphorical stand-point) because they refused to face their problems. They carried their pains into adulthood and never dealt with the issues. But the children lean on each other in a way that their parents never did and that love, trust, and support unified them in a way that allowed them to truly defeat Tom once and for all.
21 Is Hermione Really All That Nice?
I love Hermione Granger more than life itself but sometimes that girl can frustrate the wrackspurts out of me. Though she does everything in her power to fight for equality and protect those who need it, she is just so intensely close-minded. She does not accept views that contradict her own, refuses to acknowledge that the house elves do not seek freedom, and openly mocks those who believe in things that she believes false. Though they softened her for the films, there are moments in the books where Hermione can be downright cruel and everyone seems to forget about those.
20 Is Ron Really That Important?
Ron haters of the world, I am calling you out. Ron is an integral part of the trio and he does not deserve the hate which he receives.
Like all characters in the series, he is not without fault.
Yes, he carries around some prejudices which he unlearns as he ages. Yes, he can be stubborn, angry, and cruel at times... but he always owns up to his shortcomings and apologizes/makes things right. Ron got the gang out of several sticky situations over the years and things would have gone quite differently if he had not been by Harry’s side.
19 Is Dumbledore All That Perfect?
No, Dumbledore is not always right nor should his word be trusted without thought. Dumbledore, like everyone else in the series, is not perfect. He makes mistakes and errors in judgment. He supported one of the worst wizards in history due to love and the blindness that comes with it. He distanced himself from Harry when all the boy needed was someone to talk to. He placed Harry in the care of his aunt and uncle which exposed the boy to years of neglect and torment. He hired Lockhart. The man is far from perfect.
18 Actually, Are Any Of These Characters Perfect?
People are not locked into their past selves and it is unfair to view ancient mistakes as character flaws into adulthood.
James outgrew his bullying ways, Hermione opened her mind, Harry stopped trying to handle everything on his own, Ron got a handle on his anger and insecurities, Neville learned to stand up for himself, Slughorn forgave himself, etc. This series places a heavy focus on the ways in which we all grow out of our old mistakes and selves while still staying true to the people we innately are and want to be. No one is unrecognizable or without flaw by the end.
17 Did Dudley And Draco Deserve Better?
Though some fans have expressed anger with the fact that both Dudley and Draco are left out of the friend circle in the end, I find myself loving how things ended. Though both boys outgrew the cruelty they reveled in as children and became the men they were meant to be, both realize that their actions crossed a line and true forgiveness may never be possible. And they accept that. They move on and put the past behind them. They are civil towards each other and would never pass that animosity onto their children. But they are simply unable to become the "bestest" friends that the fandom wants them to be. And that is okay.
16 Could Harry Have Been Like Voldemort?
Tom and Harry are the perfect mirrors of each other which is why, at the final battle, their respective ages are 71 and 17. The only difference between them is that Harry accepted love into his heart where Tom could not. This difference led them on their separate paths.
The fifth installment in the series underlies the fork in their paths.
Had Harry continued to choose exile and darkness, Voldemort would have turned the boy who lived into his youthful puppet with ease. And, as cheesy as it sounds, love and the power of friendship was the key to Voldemort’s undoing.
15 Was Lucius Malfoy A Good Father?
Yes, Lucius was cruel towards Dobby and showed those he deemed lesser than him nothing but cruelty and disdain. But I do not believe that that same shade of brutality was extended towards his only son. I do think that Lucius was not the warm and loving father that Arthur was on his worst day but that does not mean that Lucius took pleasure in tormenting Draco. I believe that the strict focus on image, as well as being ushered into the dark lord's inner circle, was done in an attempt to protect Draco and the family.
14 Is Hermione Emotional At All?
Yes, Hermione is ruthless, stubborn, set in her beliefs, and will do whatever it takes to protect those who need it. But that does not make her hard.
In fact, I believe that, emotionally, Hermione is quite soft.
Though I expand upon this further in an article dedicated entirely to this beloved heroine, I will do my best to briefly summarize my thoughts here. Essentially, every single thing that Hermione does is driven by her emotions. S.P.E.W. was created from disgust, Cormac was cursed because of anger, Rita was caged because of betrayal, and every outburst hurled Ron’s way was the result of hurt feelings.
13 The Fault Of The Press
Though, to the reader, it is obvious that Witch Weekly is total trash as well as the witch who writes it; audiences have to remember that many of those in the wizarding world do believe each and every single word written on those published pages. Even Molly Weasley believed that Harry was secretly torn up over the loss of his parents and that Hermione was a dirty little harlot because Rita said so. For many in-universe witches, those magazines were a trusted news source and had real-world consequences for those slandered on its pages.
12 Was Snape Justified?
Let’s take a moment to address Snape directly. I’m sorry, but trauma is not an excuse to treat people like garbage. We all have baggage, we all have been hurt, and we all have found ourselves in the wrong at one point or another. None of these are valid reasons to continue to treat those around you with cruelty for years on end, especially when those people have literally nothing to do with the original conflict. Having a weird obsession with someone’s late mother does not change things either. Sorry, but it truly does not.
11 Should Harry Have Been That Emo In Fifth Year?
Harry had every right to be a little ball of rage in the fifth book/film and anyone who says differently does not understand the weight of what he had gone through. He watched someone had the life blown out of them and then was mocked by the entire world for daring to expose the person who did it. He was isolated from his friends and chosen family for months and was being tormented by his blob of a cousin and his army of goons.
He was nearly expelled, continued to be isolated and mocked for the fifth year in a row, ignored by his father figure, felt like he was a danger to everyone around him, and worried that the connection between him and Tom was due to some fault within him. If I were in his shoes, I’d be raging too.
10 Why Did Harry Try To Solve Everything On His Own?
Neglect is one of the more forgotten yet powerful forms of pain. Those who were raised in neglectful environments were taught to believe as though that they (their needs/beliefs/opinions/existence) was an unwanted burden placed on those around them. Since Harry was raised in this environment, it only makes sense that he would do everything he could to keep his problems from those around them and would attempt to defeat the dark lord on his own. He felt as though it was his duty to protect them from the problems that he believed his presence had brought into their lives.
9 Does Lucius Really Have That Much Influence?
Lucius is not some uber-powerful wizard who could take down Dumbledore if chose to do so. He is literally the head of the wizarding PTA and can do no more than throw a little fit in the headmaster's office. He has no real power and the fact that he even thinks that he can influence decisions made at Hogwarts is laughable. Go away, Lucius. The only thing you have authority over is which one of the death eaters has to bring brownies to the charity rummage sale at the end of the month.
8 What's The Deal With The House Elves?
The ways in which wizarding society treats house elves needs to be seriously examined and revamped. Wealthy wizards treat their elves like literal slaves and that is not okay. No creature should ever be exposed to that level of cruelty.
However, the elves do not want to be salaried employees nor do they seek freedom.
They take pride in their work and would find such things insulting. So, we need to find a balance between freedom and servitude that would make the elves feel both appreciated and respected. And I think the best way to do so is to simply talk to the elves themselves.
7 Why Are Wizards So Obsessed With Being Pureblood?
One of the biggest faults within the wizarding world is the fact that the prejudice that runs through society is government sanctioned. Wizards are encouraged to avoid extended interactions with muggles in order to preserve the statute of secrecy. In fact, these relationships used to be completely illegal. Creatures who are considered “half-human” are treated as second class citizens and many are forced onto the fringes of society for their own safety. Even their “human” offspring will be met with the same prejudice if their roots are ever revealed. And non-human magical creatures are treated like pests that need to be eliminated by most.
6 Is Ginny Useless?
Those who have never read the books will never know how amazing Ginny Weasley is and that breaks my heart. Ginny Weasley is one of the most fierce and formidable characters within the entire series and it saddens me deeply that she was all but written out of the films. It is a great disservice to her character that none of her epic call-out moments, brilliant spells, or rad cool Quidditch skills were included in the final cut of the films.
5 Is The Ministry On The Side Of Good?
One thing I notice that is frequently overlooked within the series is the ease in which the government can manipulate its people. They publish a few articles saying that Harry Potter is a traitor and a nutter and the immense respect for the boy who lives completely evaporates overnight. They remove education from the dark arts lessons and the public does not question it. They declare all non-humans are subhuman and should be treated that way and society agrees. They decide muggle-borns are criminals and so many go about their business because it does not affect them.
It is awful to think about.
4 Was James Potter Always A Jerk?
Plainly put, James Potter spent the majority of his teen years as the world’s biggest jerk. But he grew out of it and even saved Snape’s life. He removed his friend from a horrible home, protected his other friend from himself, and was willing to throw down with the dark lord in order to protect his wife and child. I can guarantee that he threw some punches when Tom kicked down his door. There is no way he went down without a fight. Now that is a sacrifice worthy of redemption.
3 Did They Know What they Were Fighting For?
I think it’s important that we talk about all those who risked (and lost) their lives in the final battle as well as the months leading up to it. The people who fought against Voldemort in that final year had nothing to lose. Most of them knew that the changes they were fighting for would not be achieved in their lifetime.
They knew that they were given their lives to the cause. And they did it anyway. They willingly ran head first into battle knowing that they might not live to see victory and that is so powerful.
2 The Difference Between Muggles And Wizards
I do not think that many people realize how truly dangerous a day at Hogwarts is. There are so many things within the castle grounds that could easily rip your child limb from limb. But the difference between the muggle and wizarding world is that wizards don’t try to shield their children from the dangers of the world. Instead, they teach them how to take care of themselves, ask for help when needed, and protect themselves from the things that seek to do them harm. They do not rob them of their innocence but rather provide them with the tools they need to face the real world when it's time.
1 A Second Chance
The younger generation of wizards is a mirror to the previous generation in the sense that they have undone the flaws of their fathers and can achieve things their parents never were able to. They accept help, work together, and know that there is no need to ever go through anything alone.
They move past their traumas, forgive past errors, and realize that life is too short for enemies and prejudice.
And I am sure that this generation will make their own mistakes that their children will undo in their own lives. And so on and so forth. Every generation will improve upon the last.