I wish they had touched on some of these at the reunion!
All content has been edited for clarity.
“A Last Minute Change”
“For the first half of Goblet of Fire, Ron is angry with Harry for being the center of attention, which makes Ron seem like a bad friend. Harry didn’t volunteer for the Triwizard tournament, he was forced into it. If Ron was the first champion and finally had a chance to step out from his friend’s shadow, it would make sense for him to be upset here.
The other Hogwarts champion is Cedric, who was barely mentioned in the third book and didn’t get all that much screen time in this one. So when he dies, it’s kind of sad, but not that sad. He almost feels like a last-minute change.
This is the book where the series goes from being childlike to dark, and if Rowling wanted to make it dark, what better way than to kill off a beloved character who had been there since the beginning? But either she or an editor decided it was too much so she had to slap a new character in Ron’s place.”
The Wrong Villain
“We know Rowling had to rewrite much of Goblet Of Fire due to a plot hole. Most people think it has something to do with the Weasley cousin she mentioned in the same interview, but I think the cousin was simply scrapped in the rewrite. Maybe because Rita Skeeter is a more effective antagonist, maybe because there were already too many Weasleys, I don’t know.
The last part of Prisoner of Azkaban does a great job of showing how Wormtail was simultaneously cowardly and daring (not only does he manage to frame Sirius, he manages to escape at the end). In Goblet of Fire, he’s single-handedly responsible for Voldemort getting a new body. Throughout the rest of the series, though, he barely does anything of note.
It seems such a shame that one of the most interesting characters in the series, he’s the one who set everything in motion, was relegated to such a secondary role. I think Rowling’s original plan was for Pettigrew to be the one to impersonate Moody in Goblet Of Fire.
When you think about it, the whole Barty Crouch element is pretty convoluted. Out of nowhere we get this wizard who was so powerful he could fool Dumbledore (and everyone else who knew Moody) for an entire school year. And then he’s gone. Rowling usually doesn’t dispense with her villains so easily; Umbridge gets to live another day, Wormtail escapes, etc. It’s almost as if she knew there was no place for Barty Crouch in the rest of her narrative.
Why didn’t she use Pettigrew? Because the Maurauder’s Map would have given him away. It’s why she had to introduce not only Barty Crouch, but also Barty Crouch Sr.
Which is a shame. Pettigrew had lived at Hogwarts for years, and so he was almost completely up to date on the current state of the castle. He had plenty of information about Harry, his behavior, his weaknesses, etc. You could even say he had plenty of experience doing undercover work, albeit in the form of a rat. He was the ideal candidate to impersonate Moody.”
“At the end of book four, Voldemort is back.
In book five, Hermione is at Sirius’s house, with the Weasley’s and Harry, for at least most of the summer. She was already there when Harry arrived, and they didn’t say how long she had been there.
She claimed she was going on a ski trip with her parents for Christmas, but at the least minute, she takes the knight bus to Sirius’s house so she can spend Christmas break with the Weasley’s and Harry, and claimed she told her parents she was staying at Hogwarts to study. She claimed it was because she didn’t like skiing, which was obviously a lie or they wouldn’t have planned a ski trip during the only time they would get to spend with their daughter. I get she was worried about Mr. Weasley, but she had so little time she would get to spend with her parents.
In book six, she spent most of her summer at the Burrow, with Harry and the Weasley family. When Harry arrived, Mrs. Weasley told him Hermione just arrived yesterday, so we know she was not there all summer, but she could have been somewhere else.
In book four, Viktor had invited her to visit him and his family. In book five, it was revealed she and Viktor were writing letters to each other, so maybe she finally visited him. She also could have been somewhere else.
Harry went to the Burrow for Christmas. When he, Ron, and Ginny, got back at Hogwarts, Hermione was already there and claims she just got back. Despite her claim, there was no evidence to suggest she couldn’t have spent Christmas at Hogwarts.
She wasn’t old enough, at the time, to legally use magic outside of school, and she lived in a muggle house, but that just means she couldn’t have done it. She could have gotten someone who was of age to modify her parent’s memories. Maybe Fred and George?”
The Chosen One
“Trevor the toad, Neville’s pet. Crazy it sounds but this is why. So firstly to recap Harry is meant to be the chosen one to kill Voldemort which is why Voldemort tries and fails to kill him as a baby. But Neville could also have been the chosen one as the prophecy referred to someone born at the end of July 1980 which could have been either of them as they were both born in late July 1980.
So in the end Harry kills Voldemort in the duel with Neville’s help by killing the last Horcrux, Nagini. But go back to Philosopher’s Stone. Neville losing his toad allows Hermione to meet Harry and Ron as she walks into their train car to ask if they’ve seen Trevor. Without Hermione, being the smart one of the trio, everything leading up to Voldemort being defeated wouldn’t have happened. So Trevor being lost allowing the trio to meet up is a kind of foreshadowing Neville is the chosen one as well.
And to top it off, Trevor reappears again when they’re about to go into the hall. I don’t know how, but he probably decided to return to his owner when he knew he had formed the trio like that’s why he escaped in the first place.”
“In Harry Potter, the wizarding world is shown to be extremely powerful, with their own governments, police forces, and currency, yet they are terrified of evidence of magic leaking out to the normal public.
They have to arrest and banish anyone who does so, and every time there’s an incident, they have to report it to the respective muggle leaders in the country they are in.
Why would they bother with all this secrecy and almost fear of the muggle world (which has all but forgotten they exist) if they hadn’t been completely destroyed in a conflict against them?”
“It’s mentioned that when Harry was younger before he found out he was a wizard, he accidentally did magic several times. Some of these were relatively minor and seemed to be the usual underage magic: Turning his teacher’s wig blue, making his hair grow back, etc. However, there are a few that were different.
At one point, Harry was being chased by Dudley’s gang, he then suddenly found himself on top of a roof. This was explained away by the Dursleys as him jumping and being caught by the wind but as we know, it was magic. What’s the odd part? Only highly advanced dark wizards can fly unaided. It couldn’t have been apparition, as there was no mention of a ‘crack’ sound, and without any training, he most likely would have splinched himself trying to do a magic spell many adult wizards considered too dangerous.
So, how could he have done a spell linked to dark magic? Because of Voldemort’s soul inside of him. We know from the locket that Horcruxes can defend themselves if they are somehow put in danger: the locket first tried to choke Harry, then created an illusion to try and turn Ron against Harry.
The Horcrux part of him likely was also responsible for making the pane of glass disappear on Dudley. The Horcrux recognized the tormentor that had attempted to harm its host and decided to try and remove it, by dropping Dudley into the enclosure of a deadly snake. Even if it failed (as it did), it meant that Dudley would likely be terrified of Harry’s power. Which he later was, until he found out Harry couldn’t do magic outside of school.”
Fake It Til You Make It
“The fact Lockhart hadn’t done any of the things he claimed should have been easy to discover. When Buckbeak slashed Malfoy, there were two committee hearings, numerous witnesses called, official statements, and mountains of paperwork. For a single hippogriff. How was there zero investigation into a yeti, a banshee, some ghouls, a vampire, and a werewolf, among many others? Even if only one of those took place within the Ministry’s jurisdiction, all it would take is a single official asking villagers to find out a completely different person had actually defeated the monster.
So, why was he never exposed by the Ministry? Lockhart was an effective method of propaganda for the Ministry, so they helped cover up his incompetence.
If the books hammered one thing home, it was the Ministry of Magic was headed by a number of cowards and incompetents who would take the easy way out, and bend the rules as they saw fit. Fudge fully ignored the laws on underage magic for Harry in his third year, then tried to have him expelled and arrested for breaking them before his fifth year. There’s also a number of cases of them defending death eaters because of their wealth and influence.
In Harry’s fifth year, they also showed they could fully manipulate nearly every wizarding newspaper to control the news. It went further than just stopping them from running a story, they managed to get the Prophet and others to covertly mock Harry and Dumbledore. They could easily stop any reporter from investigating Lockhart further and only allow positive articles to be published.
So, it would be fully in character for them to cover up Lockhart’s secret exploits if it benefited them. Why would they choose to do that? Lockhart served as a form of propaganda, enhancing the reputation of England in the international community, as well as giving wizards a false sense of security.
We don’t see a lot of the international community of Wizards, but from the few glimpses we see, especially Fantastic Beasts, there’s a massive amount of competition, one-upmanship, and undermining. So, of course, the Ministry would try to enhance their international reputation, especially if it was at the expense of foreign wizards (Lockhart mentioned one of the wizards he mindwiped was Romanian).
Second, the Ministry wants wizards to feel safe. Realistically, if a werewolf came at the average wizard, they would be in deep trouble. However, Lockhart walks around, not as a grizzled, scarred fighter like Mad-Eye, but like a regular wizard. He doesn’t tell people to be constantly vigilant, and study their spells, he just tells them thinking fast and being charming can solve any problem, and if they buy his book, they too will be able to beat a vampire! Lockhart is a pretty, glittery mask for the harsh reality that if the average wizard went up against a monster, the result would be something that looked like a strawberry smoothie in a blender with no lid.”
“A More Realistic Ending”
“It makes so much more sense for Harry to end up as a teacher at the end of the series, or at the very least retire from being an Auror and become a teacher.
Harry shows an aptitude for teaching in The Order of the Pheonix when he forms Dumbledore’s army. He is an adept Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who even helps Neville gain confidence in himself. Harry has shown no significant skill in many of the subjects needed to become a competent Auror. (Charms, potions, transfiguration, etc.)
Throughout the series we see Harry compared to Tom Riddle, especially when it comes to their troubled home lives and love of Hogwarts. Hogwarts becomes a true home to both of them. Notably, Tom even returns to Hogwarts in hopes of becoming a teacher but is rejected due to his obsession with the dark arts. He is not ‘worthy’ of Hogwarts. Harry is worthy, and it would show how their lives finally diverge as Harry takes up the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, a position the school had struggled to fill when Harry was in school.
Furthermore, I get the sense after his decade-long battle with Voldemort, Harry would be tired of it all and ready for a quieter life.
Obviously, this is not how things play out in the book, but I think it would have made a more realistic ending.”
The Sorting Hat
“When Harry tried on the hat, it mentioned all of the houses as options and Slytherin in particular. But Harry got into Gryffindor because he asked. He didn’t specifically say Gryffindor, but he ruled out Slytherin and didn’t want the other houses.
Same for Hermione. We found out the hat actually wanted to put her into Ravenclaw, but she asked for Gryffindor.
Ron and Neville both talked about being worried about getting into Gryffindor, and not living up to the expectations. Harry never told anyone except Dumbledore about his choice until he was an adult, and Hermione only told a small group of friends her fifth year. It’s pretty likely they, and others, made the choice, then never told anyone about it.
When all of the Gryffindors first come in, none of them actually seem to have the traits of the house: Neville is cowardly, Ginny is shy and meek, and none of the Gryffindors really seem brave right off the bat, certainly not as much as other houses, where Malfoy is clearly arrogant and cunning, Luna is clearly clever, etc. In fact, many Gryffindors seem like they belong better in other houses: Hermione, McGonagall, and Dumbledore were both exceptionally intelligent, Percy was extremely ambitious, Neville and Ron were loyal and hardworking, etc.
Godric Gryffindor set up the hat purposefully so it would never just choose Gryffindor. We know the hat sometimes will shout out a house almost instantly, which we never see occur with Gryffindor. The test isn’t if someone is brave already, it’s if they have the bravery to make the choice. If someone wants to be brave, they can be, and by getting the validation from the hat, they then start choosing it for themselves. Neville stands up for himself, both to Malfoy and to the trio. Percy throws aside his ambition for his family, and for what is right, Ginny becomes self-confident and self-assured.”