There are few groups of fanatics on Earth like the Potterheads. These folk think about Harry Potter during almost every waking second. They dream in the Harry Potter Universe. They even speak in wizarding language. You might not want to be friends with someone like this, but they’re an amazing collection. Because they’re so infatuated with this fictional Potter world, it’s almost impossible to stump them. They know virtually everything there is to know about the Harry Potter franchise and have considered nearly every thought related to it. Some things that don’t get discussed often enough, however, are some of the darker moments in the text and films.
Even though you might argue that there are plenty of blatant darkness to the stories and films, it doesn’t delve into the nasty elements like some of the other fantasy franchises. After all, the target audiences are children and teens for the most part. Because of this, some of the darkest moments in the Potter Universe are lightly glossed over by the readers, the viewers, and the author, J.K. Rowling, herself. This allows the stories to imply darkness without ever getting too explicit. Well, we wanted to delve into the darkness more. We wanted to explore these creepier moments, insinuations, and implications—the things that are not discussed in great detail but deserve some attention. Many of these would be unrecognizable for even the biggest Potter fans because they aren’t treated with anything other than a brief mention. We’ve included moments from the films and the books, so that everyone can join in the fun. Here are 15 Dark Facts that Even Die-Hard Fans Didn’t Know About Harry Potter.
15. Aberforth And His Goats
We know that Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, had a strange interest in goats. Basically everything about his character is paired with something that has to do with the animals. But how deep did that interest really go? Consider the remark from Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when he tells Hagrid, “My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat.” Later, Rowling was asked about these charms by an eight-year-old girl, to which she answered, “I think that he was trying to make a goat that was easy to keep clean.” Hmm…why would he want to keep the goat clean?
14. Tonks And Lupin Died To Create An Orphan
J.K. Rowling is a wonderful human with a bit of a dark side. On several occasions, that darkness blatantly creeps into the pages of her books. Obviously, every author makes plot decisions to force a desired outcome. Sometimes, when you begin at the outcome and work backwards, the process can look pretty sadistic. That’s what we get when we consider Rowling’s decision to kill both Tonks and Lupin. In order to create an orphan that mirrored Harry, Rowling needed to kill two newly-minted parents. As she says it, “I think one of the most devastating things about war is the children left behind… As happened in the first war when Harry’s left behind, I wanted us to see another child left behind. And it made it very poignant that it was their newborn son.”
13. Arthur Weasley And Ron Almost Died
During the creation of an epic franchise like Harry Potter, decisions are made and abandoned frequently. Not all the discarded ideas from Rowling are worth discussing, but these gems are. There was a solid chunk of time during the crafting of these stories that Rowling planned on killing off both Ron Weasley and his father, Arthur. Rowling has said, “Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. ‘There, now you definitely can’t have him anymore.’” As for Arthur, he was meant to die from very early on because Rowling wanted his parents to die like Harry’s had before. This was eventually changed. Rowling explained Arthur’s survival in this way: “I think part of the reason for that is there were very few good fathers in the book,” said Rowling. “In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series.”
12. Fred And George And The Snowballs
In the book version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, there’s a rather innocent moment that, in hindsight, is pretty crazy. The text reads: “The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.” Now, if you remember what was covered up in Quirrell’s turban, you’ll realize that Fred and George were throwing snowballs at Voldemort’s face. While the prank on its own is pretty harmless, it’s a neat little foreshadowing into the dark secret beneath the turban.
11. Tonks’ Parents
We know plenty of details about the families in Harry Potter because of Rowling’s incredible attention to detail. On at least one occasion, however, Rowling made a bit of a mistake that complicated timelines. The mistake comes with the ages of Tonks’ parents—Andromeda and Ted Tonks. It all actually stems from the given birth date for Andromeda’s sister, Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix was said to have been born in 1951, but that can’t be right because she was Snape’s friend at Hogwarts. Since Snape wasn’t born until 1959, we can assume that Bellatrix was actually born in about 1953 or 1954. That would push Andromeda’s birthdate back from the proposed range of 1951-1955 to approximately 1955-1957. Now, we bring in the knowledge of Tonks being born in 1973; and the fact that her parents had a wedding shortly before that, we can assume that Tonks’ parents got pregnant while still at Hogwarts and probably had a wedding to legitimize it. For Hogwarts, this is Scandalous.
10. The Head Of Rastaban
In the Ministry of Magic, there is a Department of Mysteries. In that building is a Time Room and in that room is a Bell Jar. In the Bell Jar is glittering wind and a small hummingbird that travels from egg to bird and back again on an endless loop. One day, some poor old Death Eater, Rastaban, was knocked into the table that supported the Bell Jar and his head went into it. What followed is the grossest of all Harry Potter scenes. According to the book, “They were all gazing, open-mouthed, appalled, at what was happening to the man’s head. It was shrinking very fast, growing balder and balder, the black hair and stubble retracting into his skull; his cheeks becoming smooth, his skull round and covered with a peach-like fuzz… A baby’s head now sat grotesquely on top of the thick, muscled neck of the Death Eater as he struggled to get up again; but even as they watched, their mouths open, the head began to swell to its previous proportions again; thick black hair was sprouting from the pate and chin…” We never did get a description of Rastaban again, so we don’t know if he died or lived, but he is probably out there somewhere looking super gross.
9. The Marauders Map
Even though s*x is never discussed openly in the books or the film, it is shown in a little Easter egg from The Prisoner of Azkaban. Yes, it’s quite possible that this is not s*x, but why put in this little nugget if it’s only two kids kissing? Besides, they’re in a closet in the middle of the night. What else could they be doing? S*x, it is. During the credit of Azkaban, we were shown the Marauders Map and some feet walking around. If you look at the bottom left of the screen, you can see two pairs of feet facing each other. There’s even a little twitch in two of the feet to show that they are alive and well.
8. Hagrid’s Parents
The union between Hagrid’s parents is a perplexing one. We don’t know much about the size of either parent except that Hagrid’s dad was said to be small, even by non-giant standards. His mother was a giant, but we don’t know exactly how large. Hagrid is 8.5 feet tall and his giant brother, Grawp, is 16 feet tall. Both of these guys were abandoned by their mother because they were undersized. We could assume that their mother was ignorant of her own size and that she was producing small babies because she too was small. But that’s a stretch. It’s likely that she was a normal-sized giant and wanted normal-sized giant babies. So, how did a small man, likely 5 feet tall, impregnate a normal-sized giant?
7. S*x In The Carriage
As we mentioned, s*x in Hogwarts is barely ever discussed. But we’re not naïve. This is a school filled with teenagers of all shapes and sizes and they have various spells to cover up their nightly comings and goings. Still, there are basically no hints about s*xual escapades other than Ron getting oddly bent out of shape about seeing Ginny kissing a guy. Is it possible that what they were doing was more than just kissing? But wait. A deleted scene from The Goblet of Fire showed us more from these teens. As Harry leaves the halls of Hogwarts during the ball, he passes a carriage that is rocking. Harry, being the horny little creep he is, decides to get a closer look. He weirdly walks up to the carriage and looks in. Rightly so, the naked guy inside the carriage gives him a look that says, ‘dude, what are you doing?’ It’s a scene that feels out of place, so it was deleted. But at least it shows some acknowledgement of the raging hormones in teenagers.
6. Voldemort’s Parents’ Union
If you weren’t paying attention to Voldemort’s history, then you might have missed the part about his mother date-raping his father. This wasn’t just a one-time thing either, as if that would make it better. Voldemort’s mom, Merope Riddle (née Gaunt), met Tom Riddle Sr. and became obsessed with him. Desperate to win his affections, Merope used what was assumed to be a love potion on Riddle. She kept giving him this potion over time and he fell in love with her. They married and got pregnant with lil’ Voldy. Soon after that, Merope decided to test Riddle’s love. She freed him from the potion’s snare, hoping he would still love her. But, he didn’t. He woke up as if from a nightmare and ditched her and the unborn baby.
5. Professor Umbridge R*pe
Plenty of fans have disputed on what actually happened during the questionable event in Harry Potter in which Professor Dolores Umbridge was carried away by centaurs. J.K. Rowling may have had something quite innocent in mind when she wrote this, but her education in the classics would have us questioning that. Centaurs carrying off women is central to the centaur myth. The most famous event, the wedding feast of Pirithous and Hippodamia, saw centaurs drinking too much wine and losing control of their primal desires. They carried the bride off and abducted children too. Now, rape is the goal that’s insinuated in the myth; but that might have more to do with the term rape, which originally meant “to carry off.” So yeah, being “carried off” by historically rapey centaurs is a pretty dark image, whether Rowling writes it explicitly or not.
4. Fenrir And Hermione
One of the overall darker characters in the stories is Fenrir Greyback. This guy targeted children frequently, first of all. This alone is weird, but it doesn’t imply pedophilia as some might suggest. Hell, the most famous werewolf in mythology, Lycaon, was turned into a werewolf by Zeus for (you guessed it) killing a child. The primary creepiness in Fenrir comes out when he leers over Hermione. When the gang was captured by Death Eaters, Fenrir made it clear that Hermione was to be his prize. As he looked at her, he described her as a “delicious girl,” “a treat,” and remarked that he does “enjoy the softness of the skin.” After being told to send the prisoners back downstairs, Bellatrix says, “Wait… All except… except for the Mudblood.” And Fenrir gave a “grunt of pleasure.” He then started asking about his chances of having Hermione, saying, “Reckon she’ll let me have a bit of the girl when she’s finished with her? … I’d say I’ll get a bite or two, wouldn’t you, ginger?” This is a strangely s*xual and dark scene.
3. Gilderoy’s Charms
Gilderoy Lockhart is known for a few things. For one, he is known for being excellent at memory charms. Memory charms alone are a dreadful spell. Think of the crimes that could be committed to a person without them having any memory of it. Next, consider that Gilderoy has countless fans, most of them female. If he were as sinister as we believe he might be, Gilderoy could take advantage of his skill and his situation if only he had the right platform. That’s what leads us to Hogwarts. Are we wrong to believe that he chose this position in order to be closer to adoring female of which he could take advantage? Perhaps. But, it does seem rather strange.
2. Dumbledore’s Sister
When Aberforth describes what happened to his and Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, we’re left with a very strong s*xual assault vibe. Yes, the attack could have been purely physical, but the resulting psychological trauma makes it seem much more sinister. Here’s the text: “When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, by three Muggle boys. They’d seen her doing magic, spying through the back garden hedge. She was a kid, she couldn’t control it, no witch or wizard can at that age. What they saw, scared them, I expect. They forced their way through the hedge, and when she couldn’t show them the trick, they got a bit carried away trying to stop the little freak doing it.” To us, even the language of pushing through the hedge screams s*xual assault. Either way, it’s a really dark moment.
1. Avadra Kedavra
In the Harry Potter world, the Avada Kedavra is the dreaded Killing Curse. It’s interesting that the word Abra Kadabra, a nonsense muggle word that represents magic in general, is essentially a perversion of this word. This might imply that Avada Kedavra is so familiar to muggles that the stand-in for any old magic spell became an offshoot of it. Why would muggles have heard this so often? This is a pretty dark insinuation of Rowling. By making the word that muggles know best of being similar to the Killing Curse, you create an interesting question. The other option is that one muggle overheard this word, created Abra Kadabra, and made it famous. But, that’s not as fun. No matter how it started, it’s interesting that, throughout history, muggle magicians have been trying to kill their assistants and rabbits probably without knowing it.