The Harry Potter discrepancies - post 1: covering books 1-4

The Harry Potter series of books is a favorite of mine and many others. A huge literary phenomena that has many factors behind its success, with Rowling's writing talent first among them, of course.

And still, nothing is perfect. Over the years I've gathered notes of discrepancies I found in the series. I mentioned a few in a post, a few months ago.

Seeing how people responded to the Big Bang Theory discrepancies post (and its addendum), I've talked around and realized readers would also like a similar critical look at the Harry Potter series of books. As I was just getting the itch to read it again, it seemed like the perfect timing...

Book 1: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone (from now on: hp1): 
The book is flaw-less (in my mind) once you realize that Dumbledore is letting harry face challenges intentionally as he prepares him for his (future) final confrontation with Voldemort.

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets (from now on: hp2): 
Unlike book 1, this one has some discrepancies. Not that many, and yet....

  1. It just cannot be that Lockahrt is as useless as he is described. I mean: the man's books are bestsellers and sensible people such as mrs. Weasley are relying on information gleaned from them that is proven to be effective(consider hp5 and the doxies, p. 96-97). So some of the stuff he authored (or co-authored or stole) is useful. Can't he ever remember any of it at all? Illogical.
  2. Why didn't Ginny take the diary the day after she saw it in harry's hands but instead waited ... and waited... and waited....
  3. How come that Ginny trusted tom's diary again to a measure that let him to take control over her once more ?

Book 3: Harry Potter and the prisoner of azkaban (from now on: hp3):
Most of the book is quite consistent. But as things get more interesting the discrepancies start to add up...

  1. How can it be that the bogart, a shape-shifter, also has all the abilities of those he changes to ? isn't it amazing that a simple creature as that can actually influence harry like a real dementor ?!?
  2. Why didn't Scabbers/Pettigrew run away during the looooong confrontation between the three kids and Black? after all, he fought so decisively to get away from ron as soon as he was found in Hagrid's cabin...
  3. The timing of Snape's entry into the room in the shack (the door moves) and what he says he knows after he reveals himself do not add up.
  4. Why was Harry prepared to kill Sirius Black but objected the killing of Peter Pettigrew?
  5. If Lupin lost his mind each time he became werewolf before the development of the wolfsbane potion, how exactly could his friends control him? after all, neither was larger than him. they could tackle him, but not control him, unless he communicated with him,which implies he kept his mind and consciousness...
  6. How can it be that other than Lupin, no one ever sees Wormtail on the maurauder's map?!? (for example: Snape, Harry, George and Fred (after all, Pettigrew is always in Ron and Harry's dormitory!))
  7. If time-turners are saved in the ministry, how can it be that once Voldemort has influence there, he doesn't get someone to go back in time and tell him that when he goes to kill H.P he must not kill either of the parents?
    after all, all he needs to do in the re-run murder is freeze both parents, and kill only the baby, and nothing shall go wrong.
    (and lets make it clear: Voldemort knew it during book 4 when incredibly illogical efforts were needed and made to support his resurrection; surely getting a time-turner using B. Crouch sr. and sending B. Crouch jr. backwards in time would have been less time consuming and a lot less complicated)
    also see the pottermore article  to realize j.k's confusion in this subject.
  8. When harry confronts Sirius Black he aims a wand at him, intending to kill him.... but Harry never learned a deadly curse... it would only come at book 4...
  9. Dumbledore didn't know about the evolution as animagi of James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew ? did not know of the way that they escorted Remus Lupin during full moon nights? Does that man know anything about things taking place in Hogwarts ?
    [but on the other hand, Dumbledore was told of the prank against Snape, swore Snape to secrecy, and had no other thoughts about the roles that Potter and Black filled in that event? nothing to raise suspicions that justified finding out everything ? [and if he had found it all out, why did he let Black into Hogwarts after 12 years as an escaped prisoner?]]
  10. With time-turners a magical possibility and the greatest wizard of the age believing the story of Black, and knowing that Pettigrew was in Hogwarts at a certain time, are we supposed to believe that there was no possibility to recapture  peter the rat before he could make a significant distance from the area of the lake ?
    no possibility at all ?!?
    this can mean only one option - that Dumbledore sucks as a wizard. Even harry's father & co knew how to make a map that showed everyone's location in Hogwarts. and Dumbledore couldn't go back in time, locate Pettigrew just as he escaped, capture him, introduce him in front of the ministry and save a lot of trouble down the road? do us a favor.

Book 4: Harry Potter and the goblet of fire (from now on: hp4):
As the books grow longer and more complicated, they gather more internal discrepancies, but in JKR's best tradition the rate of accumulation is accelerated as we make progress in the book:

  1. Why have the extreme security measures regarding Sirius Black been removed ? He hasn't been caught. He has shown a proven ability to enter Hogwarts at will. And nobody from the ministry believed his innocence or any other claim made by Harry, Ron and Hermione, right ? So what happened, other than that the Black-storyline is no longer interesting enough ?
  2. They should have used magic... (but they didn't):
    - Ludo Bagman's broken nose
    - Cedric Digory's did not repair his ripped bag
  3. Professor McGonagal couldn't handle Peeves and threatened to inform the principle if he would not stop throwing water bombs.... but in hp3 professor Lupin had no problem handling peeves.
  4. Dobby says he traveled for two whole years trying to find work, but it is November of Harry's fourth year, and Dobby has been released in June of harry's second year, so, I'm getting at no more than a year and a half (rounding up)
  5. Both Cedric and Harry see Krum use an unforgivable curse and yet they continue the tournament? it is an unforgivable curse. a crime that will send Victor to a lifetime in Azkaban. But do they linger to make sure he is caught ? No. they send a help! spark and carry on the competition.
  6. So, let us get this straight (this will be a spoiler, if you haven't finished the series): Severus Snape has the dark mark burning, calling him to apparate to his resurrected master. presumably, he goes to Dumbledore, tells him about it. At this moment, they both know that Voldemort is back. Harry is in the graveyard with V and the joining crowd of death eaters. What do Dumbledore and Snape do in the 15-20 minutes of the ensuing duel in the graveyard, until Harry returns? (Snape makes it clear (hp6, p. 33, talking to Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange) that he apparated to V two hours after the first call, waiting for Dumbledore's orders).
  7. Why did Fawkes cry a healing tear over Harry's leg, but not over the cut in his hand ?
  8. When minister Fudge entered the room where Barty Crouch jr. was held, he was escorted with a dementor and it applied the kiss to the death eater.
    Why didn't prof. Snape or prof. McGonagall perform a Patronus and saved Barty Crouch jr. ? (we know from hp7 that Snape controls the Patronus spell, and it is safe to assume that so does prof. Mc)
  9. Why didn't Fudge request Harry to take Veritaserum ? Why didn't Dumbledore insist ? Are there really no ways to check such a thing out ?
  10. Why did the Tri-Wizard cup work as a two-way port-key? Harry was supposed to die. What use did it have for Voldemort? after all, he most probably did not plan to go to Hogwarts himself, did he ? and at the beginning of hp4, it was implied that a port-key, once it served its mission, is not active anymore.
  11. The greatest problem with the internal logic of hp4: do portkeys work inside Hogwarts ?
    If they do, then although the idea of the cup as a port-key is a dramatic ingenuity, it lacks any logical base. whoever set this, could have set any other kind of portkey that would send harry directly to the dark lord. There was no need for the entire year. There was no need for the ongoing risk of B. Crouch jr. being discovered.
    All he had to do was use an opportunity on the first month to entrap harry to touch a magicked portkey. He could have lent Harry a book (remember the one he lent Nevill?)
    True, the complicated way theoretically enabled Harry's capture and death while B. Crouch jr. keeps his position as Moody and is able to get away safely, but we can imagine just as simple ways to achieve the same, once Moody bought Harry's trust (which was as early as after the Malfoy-the-ferret show).
    If they don't, then how come this works? and if you think the TriWizard Tournament third stage is justification enough (as some defences had to be removed to enable the dangers of the maze), think again - surely letting go of some defences in the Quidditch pitch doesn't mean Dumbledore would be negligent enough to remove those defences from the entire borders of Hogwards. 
  12. How can it be that for harry, the carriages are still horse-less? (p. 629... why do Thestrals become visible to Harry only in book 5?)
  13. And the last discrepancy for hp4: assuming that the ancient mother sacrifice charm is no longer deterring Voldemort as he now shares Harry's blood, how come that the ancient relations-protection still keeps harry out of harm's way in the summers? 

Just like in real life, going over the first 4 books, it is time to get a breather. We will continue with Harry Potter discrepancies in the next post.


  1. הגעתי לפוסט שלך כי גם אני והבן שלי לא הצלחנו להבין למה שער-המעבר לקח את הארי חזרה. זה לא הסתדר עם הדרך שבה תוארו שערי-המעבר בתחילת הספר. אז שמחנו לראות שעוד מישהו ראה את הבעיה (:

    מצד שני, החמצת עוד נקודה של אי-הגיון בספר ! און, הבן שלי, שאל את זה - איך יכול להיות שוולדמורט קיבל את מקל-הקסמים שלו בחזרה ? אם הוא מת ליד העריסה של הארי, אז סביר להניח שכאשר כוחות משרד הקסמים הגיעו לבית הוריו של הארי, הם מצאו את המטה אחוז בידו המתה, כשהוא שרוע ליד העריסה (מאוד דרמטי ומתאים לאמירה הזו לגבי הרובאים בארה"ב, לא? )

    אם המטה אכן נשאר שם (ואין לנו שום סיבה להניח משהו אחר) אז בוודאי משרד הקסמים לקח את המטה ושמר אותו באיזו כספת או משהו כזה. ואם היו גונבים אותו ממנה - זה בוודאי היה בחדשות !

    בקיצור - לא הגיוני.


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