The Harry Potter plot was a masterpiece of storytelling. It was intricate, symbolic, and utterly gripping. But sometimes, it got a little too complicated for its own good. As numerous fans have been pointing out ever since the very first Harry Potter book came out, there are some pretty major problems with what is now one of the most famous stories in the world. Sometimes you get the feeling that J.K. Rowling wrote herself into a hole, and then had to come up with ridiculous events to get herself out of it. Other times, it seems like the world of Harry Potter just wasn’t very well thought out. And then there are the really simple, obvious problems with the most basic parts of the story, that have pretty much everyone thinking, “Why didn’t they just do this?” Or “How come nobody thought of that?”
Still, these problems are admittedly pretty minor mistakes in what was a beautifully woven story. You can’t expect a series that spans 7 books and 8 films to get everything right. And the mistakes that are there are minor enough that they don’t really take away from the story, and that’s what counts. Even so, these 15 stupid mistakes in the Harry Potter franchise will have you questioning just what was going through J.K. Rowling’s mind when she wrote this amazing story. Some of these mistakes might be familiar to you, and you’ve probably been confused by a few of these before. Others might be totally new, changing your view of Harry Potter forever… Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
15. How Do Azkaban Escapees Get Their Wands Back?
One of the most glaring problems about the Harry Potter series has to do with escapees from Azkaban. It seems that every single wizard or witch who escapes from this prison automatically gets their wand back. This is never actually explained. It doesn’t really make sense, because one would think that dangerous witches and wizards would have their wands confiscated or even destroyed upon arrest. But everyone who ever escapes from this supposedly high security prison seems to have a strange knack for finding their wands, which are undoubtedly separated from them when they’re in their cells. Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange, and countless Death Eaters all seem to emerge from the prison with their wands. Is their some kind of wand storage facility that they broke into following their escape?
14. Dueling Is Lame
Some people may disagree with me on this one, but I find the dueling system to be really underwhelming in Harry Potter. As many fans have pointed out, dueling is more of an exercise in reflexes, not actual skill or magical ability. The first person to draw his or her wand and cast a spell before the other person can disarm them automatically wins. That means a young, uneducated wizard or witch could easily defeat an enemy ten times more powerful than them, provided they had quick enough reflexes. This pretty much takes all the skill out of dueling. The only interesting duels are between extremely high level wizards, such as Voldemort and Dumbledore, presumably because they are reading each other’s minds and anticipating each other’s next moves with the power of Occlumency. But this is never fully explained.
13. Hogwarts Students Don’t Learn Any Life Skills
Hogwarts is actually a terrible school. Sure, they teach them how to do brew potions, turn needles into matches, and ride broomsticks, but what about all those important life skills? There is no mention at all of math, grammar, foreign languages, or any of the other important skills that every child should learn. Even if you’re going to spend the rest of your life in the wizarding world, you still need to learn how to do simple mathematic equations. In the same way, you also need to be able to write at a high level. And what about if you want to travel to Romania to learn about dragons? Surely you would want to learn how to speak their language? And this isn’t even touching on all of the other important skills that would come in useful in the wizarding world. What about economics? Financial planning? Imagine what the Weasleys would be like if they had been taught how to properly save their money and make investments. And what about sexual education? Maybe the Weasleys wouldn’t have so many kids running around if someone had told Arthur to use protection…
12. Why Doesn’t Anyone Use Technology?
Okay, wizards and witches don’t need technology. I get it. There are many things about the magical world that make technology totally obsolete. But you have to admit, technology could have come in really useful in many parts of the story. For one, what about the time that Harry thought Sirius was trapped in the Ministry of Magic? He could have just texted him or sent him an email, or even called him on the phone. And for that matter, owls are totally archaic and stupid. Also, why are the students still using quills and parchment paper when pens and notebooks were invented over a century ago? Don’t they want their lives to be easier? Also, if dueling really is all about reflexes, why don’t more wizards and witches carry guns? A bullet travels faster than a spell, and no wizard would be able to block a speeding bullet in time with a counter spell. No wizard would ever expect that.
11. Why Do Hermione, Harry, And Ron Run Out Of Food?
Towards the end of the series, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are alone in the wilderness, trying to figure out where the last horcruxes are. Things get tense and they all start going a little but crazy, probably (at least in Ron’s case) because they’re running out of food. Now, I know that it’s impossible to create food with magic. It’s one of the 5 sacred rules. But you can conjure it, create it from nearby materials, or multiply it. So it really doesn’t make any sense how a witch like Hermione was unable to figure out how to get around such a simple problem. For example, she could have brought one loaf of bread and simply multiplied it when needed. Alternatively, she could have conjured food simply by remembering where she knew food was being stored (The Weasley’s pantry, for example).
10. When Teachers Sent Slytherin Students Towards A Troll
One of the most memorable parts of the first Harry Potter book and film, The Sorcerer’s Stone, was when a troll was set loose in the school. Professor Quirrell comes rushing into the banquet hall yelling about there being a “Troll in the dungeon,” before he faints. It was later revealed that Quirrell was the one who set the troll loose, but that’s not the point. Immediately following Quirrell’s report, Dumbledore orders all students to return to their dormitories… But there’s only one problem. Slytherin’s dormitory is in the dungeons. So either J.K. Rowling made a pretty huge mistake, or Dumbledore just really hates Slytherin House, because by sending them to their dormitory he is sending them directly into the path of an incredibly dangerous magical beast.
9. Snakes Can’t Hear Most Sounds
Parseltongue is a major theme throughout the entire Harry Potter series. It’s the magical ability to communicate with snakes. But there is something about snakes that J.K. Rowling obviously didn’t know (or didn’t care about) when she wrote about this ability. Snakes actually can’t hear most sounds. They have ears, but they’re so primitive that they really don’t hear things in the same way we do. Their audible range of sound frequencies is incredibly low, and they’re only capable of hearing sounds from 150 Hz to 600 Hz. In contrast, humans hear sounds from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Snakes also lack an outer ear. All of this makes the whole notion of a snake language pretty hard to fathom. The truth is that snakes are best at detecting vibrations in the ground, and would probably be completely oblivious to someone hissing at them in a strange language.
8. Why Don’t People Tie Their Wands To Their Wrists?
Expelliarmus is an extremely common magical spell in the wizarding world. Not only is it one of the first offensive spells students are taught in Hogwarts, it also become a personal favorite of Harry Potter, and the Death Eaters come to recognize it as his signature spell. If this is so widely-known, then you would think that Death Eaters (and everyone in general) would take some measures against being disarmed. Simply tying your wand to your wrist or another part of your body would prevent you from ever losing your wand… It would even be useful in other situations, not just against being disarmed. Harry Potter and many other characters have lost their wands countless times during the books. If the wand is the most vital piece of a wizard’s equipment, you’d think they would try harder to make sure they didn’t lose it.
7. No Post-Secondary Education
There is absolutely no mention of post-secondary education in the Harry Potter franchise. This means that Hogwarts is the only education witches and wizards ever receive. Seven years of education is laughable, especially when the wizarding world involves so many specialized professions. You have the Ministry of Magic, which seemingly recruits wizards straight out of Hogwarts with absolutely no training in the art of politics or administration. There is no process for teaching Hogwarts professors how to educate their students, which is evident by the fact that Dumbledore seems to drag people off the street to teach Defense Against The Dark Arts. There is no mention of an Auror school either. This is made even worse by the fact that most witches and wizards don’t even attend school before they go to Hogwarts – they’re simply home-schooled or left to their own devices.
6. Voldemort Had So Many Opportunities To Kill Harry
By the end of the Harry Potter franchise, I was internally groaning at how long it took Voldemort to kill Harry Potter. There were so many moments when Voldermort had Harry Potter right where he wanted him, only to branch off onto a long monologue, giving Harry Potter the time he needed to escape or outwit The Dark Lord. I’m sure a lot of people were thinking “Just kill him already!” In these situations, it kind of takes away the realism of the whole “Voldemort wants nothing more than to kill Harry” thing, and it’s actually a little bit insulting to the intelligence of the audience. This is actually a really common problem in a ton of movies and books, not just the Harry Potter series, and it’s really frustrating to witness for a lot of people.
5. The Rules Of Quidditch Make No Sense
At first glance, Quidditch seems like a really cool sport. Played on broomsticks, the beaters try to bat the bludgers at the other team, the seeker goes for the snitch, and the chasers try to score as many points as they can with the quaffle. But there’s just one problem. The chasers are pretty much pointless. The game can only be won by the seeker catching the snitch, which automatically ends the game and awards the seeker’s team 150 points. Sure, you can say that if the chasers score more than 150 points and the seeker catches the snitch, the chasers win the game. But the chances of the seekers scoring 15 goals before the snitch is caught is pretty low. If I were to guess, that doesn’t happen that often. Also, if the seeker knew that the other team had more than 150 points, he could strategically choose not to catch the snitch, until his chasers had scored more points. All in all, it just seems like the chasers are just an irrelevant distraction to the real game – two guys on broomsticks race to catch a shiny little gold ball.
4. Voldemort Should’ve Known Harry Was Alive At The End
The ending of the Harry Potter series was pretty well done, but it left a lot of people scratching their heads. In the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort, Voldemort strikes Harry down with the Avada Kedavra curse, but it doesn’t actually kill him. Harry talks with Dumbledore inside his own head, and then wakes up. He lies still, pretending to be dead, and manages to fool an entire army of Death Eaters. This is mostly because Narcissa Malfoy lies to the Dark Lord, telling him that Harry is dead after learning that Draco is still alive. But for a wizard of Voldemort’s power, it seems utterly ridiculous that he was unable to tell that Harry was actually still alive and well. After all, this is the most powerful wizard alive we’re talking about. He’s a master of Occlumency, meaning all he had to do was read Harry’s mind and see that he was still alive. You’d think that if Voldemort’s entire goal in life was to kill Harry, he’d take that small step to make sure he’d actually completed his task. But no.
3. Cedric’s Ghost Emerges From Voldemort’s Wand
One of the biggest mistakes in the entire Harry Potter franchise had to do with Cedric Diggory’s death. Harry and Cedric both touch the Triwizard Cup, which is a portkey, and are transported to a cemetery where Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew are waiting. Almost instantly, Peter Pettigrew killed Cedric. Later, after Voldemort is resurrected, everyone who Voldermort has killed starts flowing out of his wand in ghost form. The first ghost to come out is Cedric Diggory. But wait a minute – Voldermort didn’t kill Cedric… That was Peter Pettigrew. Unless of course, Voldemort lent his wand to Peter for the sole purpose of killing Cedric, but that seems pointless, considering Peter had his own wand (and knowing how possessive Voldemort is over something as important as his wand).
2. No One Noticed What Was Wrong With Quirrell
There have been a lot of strange characters that have made appearances in Hogwarts, and none stranger than Professor Quirrell. As all of you undoubtedly know, Voldermort was actually controlling Quirrell, and his head was fused to the back of Quirrell’s, hidden by a turban. You’d think that a powerful wizard like Dumbledore would be able to tell something was wrong with the man. Or even Snape, who was countering Quirrell’s jinxes during a Quidditch match. But no one did a thing. Did they want Harry to be killed? There have been countless other occurrences of this happening, most notably Mad-Eye Moody, who no one suspected was actually Barty Crouch Jr, even with his incredibly strange behavior. There is also the case of Peter Pettigrew, who would have clearly appeared on the Marauder’s Map, and yet Fred and George did nothing.
1. Why Doesn’t Anyone Fix Harry’s Eyesight?
Sometimes the biggest problems with stories are the most simple. Harry’s eyesight is always something that bugged me, and a lot of other Harry Potter fans. He lives in a magical world. Surely there are spells to fix someone’s eyesight? We know from experience that broken bones can be mended, as well as all kinds of other more serious ailments, so why not people’s eyes? Hermione is constantly fixing Harry’s glasses, and you’d think at a certain point she would have figured out a spell to fix the root of the problem to save herself some trouble. And Harry’s glasses put him at a clear disadvantage. Just think how easy it would be for Bellatrix, Draco, or Voldemort himself to simply say “Accio Glasses.” They wouldn’t have to have visual contact with Harry. He would be reduced to crawling around on the floor looking for his glasses, totally blind and defenseless.