The Harry Potter novels will long be revered as one the greatest stories for children ever written. This is, of course, despite the fact that these children’s stories have in fact been read,analyzed, and re-read three to four times by an entire generation of adults. However, the fact remains that the books were not written for adults, which raises some fairly uncomfortable questions regarding numerous implications found throughout the series. Have a look for yourself.
The Secret of Hogwarts
All children with magical potential get a letter to Hogwarts at age 11 to be trained in the wizarding arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a magical boarding school that is completely unknown to the non-magical world. The question is, how has it managed to stay a secret? After all, how likely is it that a large number of eleven year olds keep an ancient secret to themselves when home on summer or holiday break in their non-magical communities and spending time with their non-witch-or-wizard friends?
Hagrid explains in Book 1 that wizards do not meddle in “muggle” (non-magic folk) or ordinary world affairs, since if they did muggles would expect wizards to solve all of their problems. However, how would it be a bad thing if wizards used their tremendous magical knowledge and powers to end want and poverty? A wizard skilled at transfiguration can multiply an existing object many times out of thin air. Wizards could solve the energy crisis, climate change, starvation, and dwindling natural resources.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop stocks and sells love potions that are guaranteed to work for 24 hours dependent upon “the weight of the boy and the attractiveness of the girl.” These wizarding date rape potions apparently work, too, as when Ron Weasley consumes one by mistake, he becomes a drooling, love-obsessed drone and has to be cured by one of the faculty at Hogwart’s before he can be a functional human being again. Erm, this is a kids book, right?
Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, has a brother named Aberforth who keeps a tavern in Hogsmeade. He was brought up on charges by the Ministry of Magic for practicing “inappropriate charms” on a goat. When author J.K. Rowling was asked about this particular reference by a young fan during a forum, she laughed and gently explained that it meant he had tried to make the goats easier to tend and care for. However, she did add with a wry smile, “That’s my answer to YOU,” to the amusement and laughter of the adults in the audience.
The Hogwarts Paintings
In the Wizarding World, all paintings are sentient. Witches and wizards actually converse with the people depicted in the paintings, and when they retire, Hogwarts headmasters actually infuse their knowledge into their likeness. However, portraits can be forced to do whatever their viewers desire. In a particularly dark example, Hermione force the painting of Phineas Black to spy for her, making the paintings mere puppet versions of the people they depict.
Wizards Do Not Understand Technology
As best illustrated in Harry’s very first conversation with Mr. Arthur Weasley in Book 2, wizard’s are utterly confounded by muggle technology. Even simple things like telephones, dentistry, and the post office are wholly a mystery to them. This begs the question regarding what might happen if a dark wizard decided to acquire muggle weapons of mass destruction and unleash them on the wizarding world. The Ministry of Magic would be helpless to counter or stop the effects of such weapons, and the Muggle world would never know how or why one of their weapons was used in what had always been considered a tactically useless location and situation.
The Marauder’s Map
In Book 3, Harry learns that his father and a few school friends created a magical map that can show its owner the precise location of everyone at Hogwarts in real time. No matter where you are, or where you go, someone can track you using the map. Harry even uses it himself to spy on his son in the recent play Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
Sirius Black’s Conviction and Imprisonment
Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, takes the rap for Harry’s parents’ betrayal to their death at the hands of Lord Voldemort, a crime actually committed by James and Lily’s longtime friend Peter Pettigrew. However, the evidence in the case that wizards would have access to doesn’t add up to Sirius being the traitor. A Priori Incantato spell would have revealed the most recent spell cast by Sirius wand, and Legilimency or Veritaserum would have easily gotten magical high court sanctioned testimony out of him. The fix was in for Sirius before he ever got to court it would seem.
Wizard’s convicted of crimes in the Wizarding World are sent to Azkaban Prison, a tower in the middle of an ocean policed by soul-sucking demons of pure darkness. They have only one prison, and it exists not to rehabilitate prisoners, but instead to drive them mad. If anything, Azkaban has the opposite objective of prisons in the muggle world, as they want prisoners to eventually rejoin society after they have paid for their crimes.
Wizards and Wands
Every single wizard in Harry’s world possesses a wand that is expertly matched to them in order to enhance and amplify their existing magical potential. All wizards carry their wands at all times, too. However, this does raise the question of what would happen to muggles when a wizard decides to use their magical power throw a temper tantrum or play a prank on an unsuspecting muggle? Wands can kill, command people against their will, and wipe a person’s memory. If the Ministry of Magic couldn’t contain a single rogue wizard, how is non-magical law enforcement supposed to handle it?
Delphini *MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CURSED CHILD*
According to the events of Harry Potter and The Curse Child, Delphini is Voldemort and Bellatrix LeStrange’s biological daughter, which means that the Riddle/Voldemort family line remains uncut. It also means that at some point in time, Bellatrix Lestrange and Lord Noseless must have knocked boots a few times. There is a dark image if ever there was one.
At the start of each year, the new first year students are sorted into one of the four houses. Wizards with more malevolent intentions and personalities usually end up sorted into Slytherin. Hagrid flatout says that if a wizard goes bad, nine chances out of ten they were a member of Slytherin at school. What doesn’t make sense is that if the faculty at Hogwarts know that Slytherins tend to have serious issues with dark magic, emotional issues, or a difficult home life, why doesn’t the school do more to keep those students from being isolated outcasts in the least favorable house? Otherwise, it’s no wonder so many Slytherins eventually end up in Azkaban.
Why Are The Dursleys So Terrible?
From Book 1 to Book 7, the Dursleys are really awful to Harry. They make him live in the cupboard under the stairs for the first years of his life, verbally abuse him, and treat him like a servant, all the while spoiling their own son Dudley rotten right in front of Harry. However, there may be an explanation for this behavior towards a blood relative: Harry was a horcrux that contained a small portion of Voldemort’s soul. Horcrux exposure throughout the series always had severe detrimental effects on those who came into contact with it: Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore all suffered numerous near-fatal effects from even brief contact with a Horcrux, and the Dursleys were around Harry for years. What if this otherwise normal family was slowly corrupted by the evil that dwelt in Harry for all those years before his time at Hogwarts?
In Cursed Child, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy are two school chums who use a time turner to mess with history. In the novels, time turners can only jump a few hours forward or backward in time, however, it turns out that certain wizards possess time turners that can transport their users forward and backward in time by entire decades. So the ability to go back in time and change history has existed all through the books, which means that so many horrors that take place during the series could easily have been undone. Of course, fans of DC Comics The Flash are well aware of the unintentional and often disastrous consequences of changing the timeline.
The Narrow Academic Focus of Witches and Wizards at Hogwarts
Magic in all its forms is the only subject studied at Hogwarts. Math, science, languages, non-magic literature, and any other subjects of study necessary to function in the real world or completely overlooked. One would think that this might be extremely detrimental to the wizarding populace over an extended time period given the necessity of some practical non-magical knowledge.
Three Kids Save the Whole World
Harry, Ron, and Hermione ultimately save the world from Voldemort and his Death Eaters almost unassisted except by other children. So, why is it that this had to be? The Ministry of Magic has a dedicated organization committed to detecting and fighting evil in all its forms. All told, there were roughly fifty Death Eaters serving Voldemort, and the Ministry had over 500 employees at the Quidditch World Cup to handle security. However, when it comes to defeating the most evil wizard and his band of outlaws and murderers, they decide that the heavy lifting on that minor concern should be left to a confused orphan who holds a piece of Voldemort’s soul in a scar on his head and his two school friends. Brilliant strategy.
Dolores Umbridge Dragged Away By Centaurs
A villain of the series who takes personal delight in torturing children, Dolores Umbridge is dragged away by centaurs at the end of Book 5 while Harry and Hermione watch. However, anyone who’s ever studied Greek myth knows that centaurs are notorious for raping those they carry off. Essentially, the implication made here is that Umbridge is kidnapped by centaurs and gang-raped. Further evidence of this can be construed by her having no visible wounds upon her eventual return but being in a deep state of shock. Again, these are books for children, right?
One of the more problematic elements of the Harry Potter universe is definitely Polyjuice Potion. This mixture, which can apparently be brewed by children in a bathroom using ingredients they find around school, allows a witch or wizard to perfectly impersonate another individual for a limited time. The effect is so completely convincing that a Death Eater managed to impersonate a retired Auror (dark wizard hunter) turned Hogwarts Professor for an entire year. So, anyone can become anyone at any time provided they have some biological fingerprinting information like hair or fingernails, and this potion can be concocted by school kids. What could possibly go wrong?
Voldemort’s Wizarding Eugenics
From Harry’s first introduction to the wizarding world, it is made abundantly clear that Voldemort’s plans for world domination included wizarding racial purity. During his first reign of terror, Voldemort garnered many followers thanks to his supporting the idea of wiping out any wizards who were not of pure wizarding blood (meaning both parents had magic powers). The irony of this stance, much like a certain well known muggle 20th century dictator, Voldemort was himself a half-blood, as he was the product of a tryst between his witch mother and a handsome, wealthy muggle. Fascinating how he his rise to power was largely due to his ability to establish resentment between purebloods and muggle-borns.
Graduates of Hogwarts enter magical professions that are chosen by their academic performance during school. Common professions include teaching, magical shopkeepers, working for the Ministry of Magic in various functions, or as aurors (The Ministry’s Dark Wizard Hunters). Beyond these career fields though, Hogwart’s in no way prepares its students for non-magical careers, as many of these jobs are largely ruled unnecessary thanks to magic. So, should a wizard decide to go back to the muggle world to work in a non-magical field, they would be wholly unprepared.
Before Hermione Granger departs on her quest for the Deathly Hallows with Harry and Ron, she wipes away every memory of her from both her parents minds to protect them from retaliation by the Death Eaters. They are left with an empty bedroom they can’t explain and a housefull of photos with a Hermione-shaped blank space between them. Of course, when Voldemort has been defeated, she restores their memory, but the implications of this act are quite terrifying when you think about it.
As a character, Hermione is far beyond a fan favorite for millions. She is highly intelligent, mature, logical, loyal, compassionate, and wickedly clever when she has to be. This begs the obvious question though: How come Hermione is not in charge? She does all the legwork on solving the mysteries at Hogwarts, including the key mystery of Harry’s connection to Voldemort that proves the Dark Lord’s undoing. Harry and Ron are all about sports and girls, and they just happen to bumble along with her without mucking things up too badly for Hermione to fix. Hermione’s also referred to as the cleverest and smartest witch of her generation, so why isn’t she the leader of their little trio? It’s an interesting character choice, but it it does make her seem criminally overlooked and taken for granted by her less brilliant school companions.