The phenomenon that is Harry Potter is something that can’t really be explained. For some unexplained reason, half the world’s population latched onto the tale of the Boy Wizard and his adventures in the magical land of 1990’s Great Britain, and made JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe very rich and famous people.
As an ardent fan myself, there are several things I would have liked the Potterverse to explain to me, answers I will only accept via a personal letter/email/owl from the author herself, just so I know she really cares. And before you all run to the comments section to bitterly accuse me of not doing my research, the ONLY source material I am going from here is the 7 novels. The movies are called ADAPTATIONS for a reason. They are not canon, and neither are video games, fanfiction, that crazy website thing, or the ramblings of deranged Internet comedians. So, now that you’ve presumably ignored me and gone to the comments section anyway:
The Pensieve was first introduced in Goblet of Fire, as one of Professor Dumbledore’s many objects of wonder contained in his office. It has the ability to replay one’s memories in bizarre home movie form, provided you first input the memories in question by PULLING THEM OUT OF YOUR HEAD via wand (which brings up a whole laundry list of questions about invasion of privacy that belong in another article.)
What is never explained to us is where this thing came from. Did Dumbledore create it? If not, where did he get it? If he bought a used memory basin on clearance in Hogsmeade, did it already have someone else’s memories in it?
It also makes you wonder exactly how much of his memories Dumbledore put inside, not to mention Snape, whose whole life story was in the thing by the end of the last book. Finally, what happened to this plot device after the events of the books? Did it stay in Dumbledore’s office for Professor McGonagall to use? It’s actually intriguing to think about McGonagall taking a look through Dumbledore’s memories on a lazy Saturday, perhaps coming across a Dumbledore/Grindelwald sex scene (oh come on, everyone had to think that after Rowling said Dumbledore was gay.)
Harry’s Gringotts Fortune
In the very first book, Harry is whisked away to Diagon Alley by Hagrid to purchase school supplies and inoculate the boy into the world of magic. When Harry asks how he’s going to be able to pay for all this
crap, Hagrid takes him to the wizard bank, Gringotts, where, after mine cart related chicanery ensues, we discover Harry’s parents have left him with a pile of gold coins, just waiting for Harry to scoop up.
All we know about this money is that his parents left it to him. The key question is, where the hell did they get it? Both Lily and James were killed when they were just 21 years old, 4 years after they had left school. What’s more, they probably never had jobs, joining the Order of the Phoenix to fight Voldemort right out of school. Dumbledore is many things, but employer of well paid mercenaries to fight evildoers is not one of them.
Perhaps the money was invested? In a society that hasn’t even mastered cars, electricity, or fountain pens, a sophisticated stock market seem unlikely. That probably also rules out a life insurance payout, or selling a kidney. That only leaves inheritance, and with Lily’s parents being Muggles, it points the finger directly at James’ parents being filthy rich. And unless they were lottery winners or overnight success stories by like inventing a color changing teacup or something, Harry may have to face the fact that his grandparents were the same kind of old money purebloods that his hated rivals the Malfoys were.
We are first introduced to Griphook in Sorcerer’s Stone, when he plays a minor role as the goblin who takes Harry to the aforementioned vault of suspect gold. He plays a much bigger role in Deathly Hallows, when he is captured by Death Eaters and later freed by Harry and Co. While recovering from his injuries, he hatches a plot with the Company of Heroic Teenagers to break into the Lestrange Vault and steal Hufflepuff’s Cup. Griphook’s price for this? The sword of Gryffindor.
Well, the break in goes wrong, and at the moment of truth, Griphook screws our Heroes and flees with the sword, forcing improvised Dragon escape on the part of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Now, in the book, Griphook is not mentioned again, even though the movie shows Voldemort killing him in a fit of rage, but remember, we’re only going with the books here.
So, what happened to Griphook? We know he didn’t end up with the sword, because it conjured itself for Neville to commit snake decapitation with. Picture the look on his face as he watches the sword vanish into thin air right before his eyes. Not to mention he left the three most famously heroic folks in the magical world to die, and something like that can’t go unpunished. There has to be some kind of revenge story featuring Harry calling the goblin out to task.
The Dursley family: Uncle “Tub of Lard, Pudding, and Rage” Vernon, Aunt “Giraffe Hybrid Scoffer” Petunia, and Cousin “Piggy Britches” Dudley, are Harry’s only biological family, and raise him for ten years after his parents are killed and he takes revenge by toasting Voldemort. They only do this because Dumbledore either threatened them, or offered them fabulous cash and prizes, but either way, they aren’t happy about it. They also raise Harry badly, locking him in a broom cupboard and regularly starving him while making him cook bacon to feed Uncle SaltPorker.
The relationship between Harry and the Dursleys is mostly confrontational, with the Dursleys doing something to piss Harry off, and Harry in turn summoning a crew of wizard friends to alternately break him out of Dursley jail, give Dudley a pigs tail that had to be surgically removed, or just plain wrecking the house.
However, the situation seems to get a little better when Harry saves Dudley from a Dementor attack in Order of the Phoenix, and they always send him Christmas presents (granted, one of them was a tissue, a single tissue, but still.) However, the love hate relationship comes to an end at the beginning of Deathly Hallows, when Harry sends the Dursleys into hiding so that Voldemort doesn’t come after them (though, he probably wouldn’t have made the effort anyway.) They are accompanied by two Order members it seems very likely they were trying to keep out of the way (one of them was Daedalus Diggle, arguably the most annoying person in the entire series.) They say their very awkward goodbyes, and the Dursleys are not heard from again.
So….what happened to them? Presumably they came out of hiding after Harry toasted Voldemort for good at the Battle of Hogwarts, but what did they do? Vernon probably lost his job, since you can’t ask for sick leave because of wizard attack. Dudley missed his last year of school, granted, he wasn’t that bright to begin with, but you need to at least graduate from primary school to get any kind of job, meaning he’ll have to repeat or go to summer school or something. Did Harry ever go back and see any of them again? Obviously he wouldn’t have given two owl droppings about Vernon, but Petunia has a more complicated relationship with him, and he and Dudley parted on good terms. Not to mention, if they moved back to Number 4, Privet Drive, Harry left a bunch of crap there when he moved out. Not just regular crap, magical crap. You can’t just throw that in the Muggle trash, it might set the garbage truck on fire or something.
For the first five books of the series, Cornelius Fudge is the Minister of Magic, the leader of Magical Britain. In the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th books, he’s mainly known for being a low key fellow with a love for green bowler hats. In the 5th book, he becomes Cornelius Hitler Fudgems, denying the return of Voldemort and attempting to smear the names of the two most popular public figures in Britain, Harry and Dumbledore, for saying otherwise.
But Fudgem’ up goes beyond acting like a Magical 9/11 Truther and paying the newspapers to call the most powerful man alive a dottery old fool: he decided he was going to put Hogwarts under his personal supervision by sicking Dolores Umbridge, a human-toad hybrid who hates children and loves pink, onto the unsuspecting school. She quickly installs herself as dictator of the school, deposing Dumbledore after she feeds Fudge’s paranoia by declaring that Dumbledore is planning on staging a coup de etat and installing himself as Minister of Magic. Its only after Fudge sees Voldemort with his own eyes in the Ministry that he stops his campaign of idiocy and mobilizes to fight the Dark Lord of the Sit…I mean, well, you know.
So, what did Fudge get for spending an entire year telling his people that a villain was not running among them, accusing Dumbledore of treason, staging a hostile takeover of Hogwarts, and allowing Umbridge to spend two semesters raping the minds of hundreds of teenagers? Well, all that happens in the books is that he loses his job, and that’s only after he’s unable to prevent Voldemort from blowing up a bridge, murdering several high ranking Ministry officials, and sending Dementors and Giants to reign terror on folks. Seriously, that’s it? People have gone to prison for less egregious political bungling in real life. This is, without a doubt, the worst case of leadership in a crisis that I have ever seen. After the Battle of Hogwarts, he and Umbridge both should be tried and given very long prison sentences in Azkaban for several crimes, chief among them being terrible people.
Speaking of Azkaban, now that the Dementors have shown themselves to be dastardly things, who are they going to get to guard the wizard prison? Well, if they were smart, they’d hire this guy:
By Ben Adelman