With Pottermore now fully off the ground and word of the encyclopedia floating around, I’m reminded of some of the burning questions I had whilst reading J.K. Rowling’s series. And while McGonagall’s backstory and the story of how the Dursleys met were interesting and informative, they were also completely superfluous.
They were never things I had particularly wondered about. I will never say no to knowing more about the world of Harry Potter, but here are seven questions I particularly wondered about while I was reading and re-reading the series.
1) Who are the two missing Gryffindor girls?
It may be a bit presumptive of me to think that there are two missing Gryffindor girls in the first place, but hear me out. How can the House Cup competition be fair if the houses did not have equal amounts of students? It may seem like a far-fetched cry to believe that every year, Hogwarts gets the same number of students and they all just fit evenly into the 4 houses, but isn’t that what Hufflepuff is for? She’ll “take all the rest”? Plus many students showed aptitude for multiple houses it seems, so I’m sure the Sorting Hat can fudge things a bit to ensure even numbers.
Also, J.K. Rowling seems to be all about the numbers. Would it not make sense to have 5 boys and 5 girls in each house for each year? That would be 10 students per house per year, for a total of 40 students per year. Hogwarts serves all of the United Kingdom. Considering my neighbourhood primary school had approximately 40 students per grade, I’m sure Hogwarts can scrape up 40 wizards in the UK. We know who the boys are [Harry, Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus], and we know three of the girls [Hermione, Pavarti and Lavender], so who are the other two girls?
And if there aren’t two missing girls and I’m just over-thinking this, I would like to know more about Hogwarts’ attendance rate and sorting.
2) What happened to Neville’s parents and St Mungo’s during Voldemort’s reign in Deathly Hallows?
We see what happens to the Ministry and to Hogwarts. They undergo radical changes in their regimes with all the Muggle-borns being rounded up and persecuted. How did St Mungo’s fare? And what happened to Neville’s parents? Did Bellatrix come along to finish them off, just for the heck of it? And while we’re speculating that little part of the world, did Gilderoy Lockhart ever get better or is he still memory-adled??
3) How did Angelina and George get together?
In Goblet of Fire, we see that it’s Fred who asks Angelina out. From that point onward, we have mention of them together in the background and generally interacting. So how did she end up marrying George? In Goblet of Fire, either Fred and Angelina start dating or they don’t. If they’re dating, were they still together when Fred died? If your boyfriend died, would you start dating his twin brother?? And if they dated, but broke up, again… if you broke up with your boyfriend, would you start dating his twin brother?
And if they never started dating, if they only attended the Yule Ball and that was it, why? Was Angelina just not ready for a boyfriend? Did she secretly want George this whole time? How does George feel about this? Your twin dies, and you start going out with the girl he was interested in? Was he interested in her this whole time too? I personally would be afraid that Angelina was using me as a replacement for Fred. Either way, I want more clarification on what happened here.
4) What happened to Harry’s grandparents?
Why did Harry have to end up with the Dursleys? We know that James was an only child, so that rules out any aunts or uncles from Harry’s father’s side, but what about his grandparents? J.K. Rowling has stated that James’ parents were quite late in life when they had him, and as a result spoiled him and died natural wizard deaths. However, we know that wizards can live up to 150, as demonstrated by Dumbledore. We also know that Lily and James were about 20 when they had Harry and subsequently died.
Assuming James’ parents were healthy [which they must’ve been if they were able to produce him late in life], they should’ve lived to be at least 100. Does that mean they had him when they were 80? How does the wizard’s life-span and reproductive system work? The numbers just don’t add up. Logistics aside, I would just like to know more about their deaths and how wizard’s life-span works.
And what about Lily’s parents? Did they too have Petunia and Lily late in life? I’m a muggle [obviously] and 23 years old and my parents are 55. At the time they had me, 32 was considered to be “getting there” for having your first-born. If Lily died around age 20, and her parents were already dead, then how? They either must’ve had her at age 60 and then died at age 80, or they died of unnatural deaths at age 50. It’s been stated that the Evans’ were proud to have a witch in the family and were constantly praising her. Did they live to see her graduate from Hogwarts? What happened to them in the few short years between Lily leaving Hogwarts and her dying?
5) How did Hagrid’s parents meet?
…And you know… make Hagrid, haha. But no, seriously. How does a wizard meet a giant in the first place? In Order of the Phoenix, we hear about how in order to approach the giants, Hagrid must present gifts to the leader. Did Hagrid’s father do this… and then met, courted, married and produced off-spring with one of them?? Why was Hagrid’s father meeting with the giants in the first place? Was he going for business reasons and then just happened to befriend Fridwulfa? Or did he go for personal reasons, like vacation or with the intent on getting a giant bride?
And then there’s the question of how this even worked. Hagrid is only a half-giant, and he’s described at 8 and a half feet tall. From Hagrid’s perspective, his father was a “tiny little man” who he was able to pick up using only one hand by age 6. Grawp is described as 16 feet tall, but that’s considered small for a giant. Assuming Hagrid’s father isn’t Flitwick-sized, he’s probably about 5’2-5’5”. Yet he marries a giantess who is well over 16 feet tall. And has Hagrid. Again, how?
Of course, I don’t expect J.K. Rowling to explain the logistics of how Hagrid came to be, but I would really like to know under what circumstances his parents met and how they came to be married.
6) What are some of the other international schools of witchcraft and wizardry?
In Goblet of Fire, we were made aware of the existence of international wizards. We know that Hogwarts serves the UK, Beauxbatons serves France [maybe Italy and Spain too?] and that Durmstrang has the Scandinavian countries. How many schools are there in Asia? Is there only one school for all of Oceania? In the US, are the schools divided by region or religion or political views? Do Canada and Mexico have separate schools, or is it like, one set of schools for all of North America? How does schooling differ? Do Canadian wizards learn both in English and in French? Do some parts of the world have higher wizarding populations than others?
7) With spells like “reparo” and “engorgio,” how come the Weasleys can’t dress better?
The Weasley children are always described as wearing patched, frayed, ill-fitting hand-me-down robes. But why? The hand-me-down part makes sense. If they have a perfectly good sweater, might as well keep passing it around. But why would it be patched or ill-fitting? If a hole was made, couldn’t they just use “reparo”? Couldn’t they shrink and enlarge the clothes as they needed to? One person can argue that the laws of physics come into play and that you cannot make something from nothing.
But if you tear your shirt, you don’t need new material to fix it. You just need the two sides of the hole to be rejoined. Hence, “reparo.” And say Ron, who is tall and lanky, gets pants from Fred, who was described as being more stocky in build, can’t they redistribute the material so that the pants are not as wide, but instead more long? Same amount of matter, but the pants would now fit Ron better.
Of course, there are many more unanswered questions and details that I would like to know about. Anyone’s backstory would be fun to hear, and just general knowledge on how the wizarding world exists and functions. But those are my seven burning questions derived from me reading the books and over-questioning and analyzing everything. Hopefully they and everyone else’s questions will be answered in time.
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