Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published in the UK in 1997 and one year later in the US. In no time, children and adults alike fell in love with the books and pretty soon, Harry Potter was a household name. The book series came to an end in 2007 with the seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Millions of dedicated fans have read these books over and over. They have studied every detail, created family trees and relationship charts, found hidden meanings and dissected minor characters. These fans come up with some of their own ideas about the true nature of the wizarding world. Keep reading to have your mind blown.
The First To Rise Was The First To Die
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Divination teacher Professor Trelawney refuses to sit at Dumbledore's table. She says, "If I join the table, we shall be thirteen! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!"
What the people at the table didn't know was that there actually already were thirteen people dining together. Peter Pettigrew was there in the form of Ron's rat, Scabbers. At the end of dinner, Dumbledore stood up first. Of the people at that table, Dumbledore was the first to die. Trelawney actually predicted Dumbledore's death three books before it happened.
Why Professor Trelawny's Instinct About Harry's Birthday Was Actually Right
We all know that Harry Potter was born at the end of July, but in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Trelawney senses that Harry was born "mid-winter." At the time, we just thought that Trelawney was losing her touch, but now that we know that Harry was a horcrux, everything makes sense.
It's possible that Trelawney was picking up on Tom Riddle's birthday, which is in December. She was sensing the part of Voldemort's soul that was inside Harry all along.
Harry Potter Can Never Die
In the first Harry Potter book, Harry asks Dumbledore why Voldemort wanted to kill him in the first place. Dumbledore responds that he'll tell Harry the answer to that question when the time comes. In the fifth book, we learn that Voldemort tried to kill baby Harry because of a prophecy that Professor Trelawney made: "Either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives."
Some people think that because Voldemort was destroyed, he is no longer around to kill Harry, so, therefore, Harry must be immortal.
Mary Poppins Might Have Been A Hogwarts Grad
Mary Poppins definitely has some magical powers. She has a magical umbrella just like Hagrid's, and the adults around her never see her do any magic. She lets the kids see her do tricks because they're kids and nobody would believe them if they spilled her secrets.
Perhaps her umbrella is just a magic wand in disguise, and maybe she graduated from Hogwarts long before Harry was ever born. Stranger things have happened in the wizarding world.
A Historical War Between Wizards And Muggles
Throughout the Harry Potter series, wizards are preoccupied with keeping their magical abilities hidden from the muggle world. There are charms to disguise magical buildings and spells that actually erase muggles' memories if they happen to witness a magical event.
Some fans think that all of this secrecy exists because there was a war between muggles and wizards in the past. We're not sure about a full-on war, but the Salem witch trials alone would be enough to make any witch or wizard wary.
J.K. Rowling Is Actually Rita Skeeter
Some fans think that J.K. Rowling is actually witch journalist Rita Skeeter in disguise. Now, this theory is kind of "out there,' but the idea is that Skeeter was shunned from the wizarding world because she kept spreading rumors.
Because she is a shapeshifter, she was able to disguise herself as a muggle, and make a living in the muggle world by reporting on Harry Potter's life story, but presenting it as a work of fiction.
The Centaurs Knew The Ending All Along
The second time Harry ever meets Voldemort is in the dark forest when Harry comes across a cloaked figure drinking unicorn blood. The first time he met Voldemort was the night that Voldemort gave Harry his scar. In the forest, a centaur named Firenze saves Harry and scares the cloaked figure away. Later, another centaur tells Firenze, "we are not sworn to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?"
Now that we know the end of the story, it's pretty clear that this other centaur was referring to the fact that Voldemort is supposed to "kill" Harry. The centaurs knew it all along.
Rita Skeeter Is J.K. Rowling's Alter Ego In The Books
Rowling herself has said that she identifies with Hermione in the books, but some fans think that Rita Skeeter is Rowling's real alter ego. Both Rita and Rowling are people who have dedicated their lives to writing stories about the wizarding world.
Rowling has never confirmed this theory, but we think any similarities between Rowling and Rita are purely coincidental. Rowling seems to be poking fun at the paparazzi and modern media with her Rita Skeeter character.
What It Really Takes To Make A Horcrux
We never truly learn how horcruxes are made in the novels. All we know is that it involves the death of another person and that making a horcrux is as complicated as splitting an atom.
Some people think that making a horcrux actually involves cannibalism. We already know that Voldemort killed other wizards to make himself immortal, but what if fracturing your soul actually requires doing something even worse than that? We wouldn't put it past Lord Voldemort.
The True Identity Of The "Three Brothers"
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn about "The Tale of the Three Brothers." The Peverell brothers attempt to evade death through a resurrection stone, an invisibility cloak, and an unbeatable wand. Some fans believe that the three brothers actually correspond to Snape, Harry, and Voldemort.
Voldemort is the oldest brother who tries to cheat death but is brought down by his own ego. Snape is the middle brother who can never get over the loss of his great love. Harry is the youngest brother who hides from death for as long as he can.
Lilly Potter Owned Crookshanks Before Hermione
In the third book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione adopts a rather temperamental cat named Crookshanks. Hermione absolutely loves her new pet, but Ron isn't so fond of the creature. Ron even accuses Crookshanks of eating his pet rat, Scabbers.
Fans have theorized that Crookshanks actually used to belong to Harry's mother, Lilly Potter. When Hermione buys Crookshanks from the Magical Menagerie, the owners of the pet shop tell her that the cat had been there for "quite some time." Also, Crookshanks seems to recognize both Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black in their animagus forms.
Dumbledore Is Death In This Analogy
So, If "The Tale of the Three Brothers" correspond to Harry, Snape, and Voldemort, then that means that Dumbledore is death itself. In the story of the three brothers, the youngest brother willingly follows death and accepts the end of his life.
This is exactly what happened at the end of Deathly Hallows. Harry learns to accept the inevitablity of death and feel at peace with his own ending. J.K. Rowling has never confirmed this theory, but she has said that it's one of her favorites.
J.K. Rowling Cleverly Has Hermione Tell The Reader How To Say Her Name
Raise your hand if you were calling Hermione "her-me-own" in your head for the first three books of the series. J.K. Rowling finally clarified the pronunciation of this unusual Shakespearean name in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In that book, Hermione Granger teaches her new Belgian friend, Viktor Krum, that her name is pronounced, "her-my-oh-nee."
Rowling admitted that she added that bit into the fourth book so readers would stop mispronouncing Hermione's name.
Harry's Very Presence Changed The Dursleys
Remember that scene in The Deathly Hallows where Ron is wearing Slytherin's locket and it makes him uncharacteristically moody and difficult? Well, that's because the locket was a horcrux that was possessed by dark magic.
Do you know what else is a horcrux? Harry Potter. The Dursleys lived with Harry Potter for his entire childhood. Maybe just being around him (or the part of Voldemort's soul that was inside him) made them act extra mean.
Neville Isn't Actually Clumsy
Throughout the book series, other characters see Neville Longbottom as a clumsy wizard. In reality, his clumsiness isn't actually his fault. Neville is using his father's wand in the first book. It's not a bad wizard, he just doesn't have the right equipment. The wand chooses the wizard, after all.
Neville managed to pass all of his classes even though he wasn't working with a proper wand, which makes him an especially skilled wizard in training.
Neville Was Supposed To Be The Boy Who Lived
When Voldemort first heard Trelawney's "chosen one" prophecy, he wasn't sure if the prophecy referred to Neville Longbottom or Harry Potter. Both of these boys were born "when the seventh month dies."
Voldemort decided to attack the Potter's home first, but when Lilly sacrificed herself for her son, Voldemort was destroyed and he never made it to Neville. Harry's life could have been a lot different if Voldemort had attacked Neville first. It just goes to show that Voldemort fulfilled that prophecy himself. Harry only became his equal because Voldemort decided he was.
Could Hermione Have Influenced The Sorting Hat?
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, we find out that Harry actually chose to be in Gryffindor over Slytherin. Many readers of the series have found it surprising that Hermione was sorted into Gryffindor and not Ravenclaw. Yes, she'd brave, but she's also the cleverest witch of her generation, and Ravenclaw is all about cleverness.
That either means that Hermione is even braver than she is smart, or that she chose to be in Gryffindor for some reason, just like Harry chose not to be in Slytherin.
Did The Wizards Lose The War?
Some fans feel very strongly about this wizard versus muggles war theory. The Redditor who is the strongest supporter of this theory claims that the wizards must have lost the war, otherwise, the muggles would be in hiding.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we find out that the Ministry of Magic has to get permission from Britain's Prime Minister to bring a dragon into the muggle realm. That could mean that the wizard leaders report directly to the muggle leaders.
Maybe Ron Chose Gryffindor Too
Ron seems like a natural fit for Gryffindor mostly because all of his brothers have been sorted into Gryffindor, but if we're just taking his personality into account, Ron does seem like more of a Hufflepuff— at least, he seems the most Hufflepuff-like of the main trio.
Maybe Ron also chose Gryffindor because he wanted to fit in with his family. He is pretty scared of spiders. Aren't Gryffindors supposed to be brave? Then again, he did face his fear of spiders...
The Defense Against The Dark Arts Curse
Throughout the Harry Potter series, we see several professors (some good, some not so good) teach Hogwarts' Defense Against the Dark Arts class. It does seem like this particular position is cursed though. Snape had been gunning for this job since book one, but Professor Quirrell, Gilderoy Lockhart, Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dolores Umbridge all got the job before him.
Maybe Snape was too important to the school to occupy a position with such a high turnover rate.
Dumbledore May Have Been Protecting Severus Snape
One Harry Potter superfan believes that The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom was actually cursed by Dumbledore himself. Dumbledore didn't want Snape to teach the class because Snape had an important role to play in his plan to defeat Voldemort.
He finally gives in and lets Snape teach the class after Snape makes the unbreakable vow and his fate is sealed. That doesn't explain why Dumbledore would curse his staff, though. Maybe he just wanted fresh faces in his school.
Some Fans Think That Ron Is Dumbledore
One very creative theorist came up with the idea that Ron Weasley is actually a time-traveling version of Albus Dumbledore. They think that Dumbledore went back in time to protect Harry and himself in the form of Ron Weasley. We're not sure where this idea came from, but we do know that J.K. Rowling isn't too fond of it.
She herself has said that this theory is just flat out wrong. None of us were really taking it seriously anyway.
Professor McGonagall Might Be A Villain
This is another theory that's just too wild to be true, but one Redditor has speculated that Professor Minerva McGonagall might just be a Death Eater and one of Voldemort's most loyal followers.
This theorist is suspicious of McGonagall because her interferance seems to harm Harry more than it helps him over the years. I don't know which books this person was reading, but McGonagall is as good as they come. Maybe this theorist just isn't a cat person.
Could Severus Snape Be A Vampire?
This is Harry Potter we're talking about, not the Twilight series, right? Some Harry Potter fans have latched onto the idea that Snape might be a vampire. He does love wearing black clothes, he lives in a dungeon, he's pale, and he definitely hates at least one werewolf.
There's no evidence in the books that Snape is a bloodthirsty monster, though. We think that he's just a greasy loner who takes out his sadness on Harry. He doesn't want to suck anybody's blood.
The "It Was All Just A Dream" Theory
This is a theory that inevitably comes up every time something unusual happens in a fantasy series (or book, or movie, or tv show...). Nobody likes when "it was all just a dream," but that doesn't stop fans from speculating that all of Harry's adventures could have been happening inside his head.
Maybe Harry was so miserable with the Dursleys that he invented a magical world while he was living in the cupboard under the stairs. That would be depressing.
Ginny Tricked Harry Into Loving Her
In the books, it's pretty clear that Ginny and Harry are into each other. Book Ginny and book Harry have common interests, and they spend more than five minutes together. The same is not true for movie Harry and movie Ginny.
The lack of chemistry between these characters on screen has led some fans to believe that Ginny must have dosed Harry with a love potion. Why else would he fall for her and not Hermione who is freakin' Emma Watson for crying out loud?
George Weasley Became Willy Wonka
One Harry Potter fan has a theory that George Weasley actually ended up becoming the famous Willy Wonka. George loves sweets and pranks, and while George is probably more like Willy Wonka than any other Harry Potter character, that doesn't mean that he actually became Willy Wonka.
This theorist says that George could have entirely changed his persona to deal with the grief he felt after Fred's death. If you have to make a character entirely change their character to fit your theory, it's probably not a great theory.
Aragog Was A Gift From Newt Scamander
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we learn that in the past, people suspected that Hagrid had opened the Chamber of Secrets because Hagrid had a giant spider named Aragog. We later learn that Aragog is not actually the monster in the chamber, and we learn how Aragog and Hagrid first met. Aragog says, “I came to Hagrid from a distant land, in the pockets of a traveler."
According to one user on the Facebook group Mugglenet, that traveler may have been Newt Scamander. It's very possible that Scamander was at Hogwarts during the ‘40s and met a young Hagrid.
The Dursleys Made Harry A Hero
Harry didn't enjoy his time with the Dursleys, but maybe all of the hardship they caused him was actually good for him in the long run. One Redditor wrote:
"Almost every single character trait exhibited by Harry can be linked back to his time at the Dursleys. He’s a good seeker because he was malnourished enough to be small and fast, and had gained excellent reflexes from constantly dodging their swings at him. He wants to protect and help others, because no-one helped him. He hates bullies, like Malfoy, because he was bullied. He doesn’t try at school, because he was never encouraged at home, and in fact, was probably punished if he did better than Dudley."
Hagrid Is Infertile
We learn early on that Hagrid is so big because he's half human and half giant. Hagrid is a hybrid, and in the muggle world at least, a lot of hybrids (like ligers and mules) are infertile. Some Harry Potter fans think that Hagrid and Harry became so close because Hagrid couldn't father any children of his own. This might also be why he enjoys nurturing magical creatures so much.
That explains why he wanted to "mother" baby dragon Norbert so much.
Why The Class Sizes At Hogwarts Were So Small
If you're wondering how many students study at Hogwarts each year, J.K. Rowling has previously explained that there are "about a thousand students at Hogwarts." That means that there are around 35 students in each house each year, but in Harry's year, there are only about 10 students.
One clever theorist has speculated that this may be because wizards put family planning on hold during the height of Voldemort's reign. Many wizards went into hiding or were killed. It wasn't exactly a baby boomer year.
Arthur Weasley Was Under The Influence (Of The Imperius Curse)
Arthur Weasley has an important job at the Ministry of Magic, yet somehow, he and his family are struggling to get by financially. Some people think that Arthur may have been put under the Imperius curse by his employers to keep him from rising too high in the ministry or asking for more money.
In Harry Poter and the Goblet of Fire, Mad-Eye Moody (who is actually Barty Crouch Jr.) responds, "your father would know all about that" when Ron mentions that his father told him about the Imperius curse.
Hogwarts Is Harry's Coping Mechanism
This theory is very similar to the "it was all a dream" theory. Some fans have discussed the possibility of Harry inventing Hogwarts and the wizarding world as a way to cope with the trauma and abuse he experienced while living with the Dursleys.
While Harry did deal with some pretty traumatic life events before receiving his Hogwarts letter, we're pretty sure that this story is as real as fiction can get in— in that it's not real at all but it's real to the characters within the world of the story.
Harry And Sirius Might Share A Common Ancestor
We already know that Sirius Black and James Potter loved each other like brothers, but there may be more of a familial connection between the Blacks and the Potters than we previously thought. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we see the Black family tree with a few "blood traitors" burned off of it. One of the marriages that was shown on the family tree was between Dorea Black and Charlus Potter.
It makes sense that the Potters and the Blacks mingled at some point in history, especially because the Blacks were so concerned about blood purity. There aren't that many pureblood families in the wizarding world.
Could Harry And Hermione Be Siblings?
This theory is a little bit off the wall, but hey, sometimes Harry Potter fans are inventive. Some fans think that Lily potter could have had two children, a boy and a girl. For some reason, they could have given the girl up for adoption, and the Granger family could have adopted her.
This theory basically exists to explain how Harry and Hermione got so close without developing romantic feelings for each other. Why can't we just accept that sometimes men and women can be just friends?
Foreshadowing In The Philosopher's Stone
Many of the elements in the first book in the Harry Potter series foreshadow events that happen in the later books. At the end of the first book, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to get past the Devil's Snare, which is a plant like the Whomping Willow in the second book. Then they have to win a chess match which kind of resembles the final maze in Goblet of Fire. T
We also see a troll in the first book, and later in the series, we meet Hagrid's troll half-brother.
Draco Might Be A Werewolf
Some fans think that Draco Malfoy might be a werewolf. This could explain why Draco became even more of a problem for harry between the fifth and sixth books in the Harry Potter series. The Malfoy family was working for Voldemort at the time, and some fans think that Voldemort had Fenrir Greyback turn Draco Malfoy into a werewolf to punish Lucious for his apparent disloyalty.
Draco may have just been extra moody because of the whole promising to kill Dumbledore thing, though.
Azkaban Was A Way Of Containing Dementors
Azkaban is a horrible place in the magical world. It's a high-security prison for witches and wizards who have committed the most heinous crimes. The prison is guarded by dementors who feed on human souls.
Some people have theorized that Azkaban exists as a way to keep the dementors content and contained. If they can feed on the souls of criminals, they won't run wild and terrorize innocent people. Pottermore actually confirmed this theory. Spooky.
Harry Could Be The Real King Arthur
Some Harry Potter fans who are also fans of the Knights of the Round Table have suggested that Harry Potter is actually the famous King Arthur. We already know that Merlin exists in Harry's world because he's on a Chocolate Frog card in the Harry Potter universe.
Both Harry and Arthur go on a similar hero's journey, but we aren't entirely convinced that they're the same person. They do have different names, plus Arthur doesn't have a lightning bolt scar.
Credence Barebone Is Somehow Related To Voldemort
Some Harry Potter fans have guessed that later in the Fantastic Beasts series, we'll find out more about how Credence Barebone and Voldemort are connected. J.K. Rowling has said that Credence will play an important role in the series.
Also, we know that Credence died in December of 1926 and Tom Riddle was born in December 1926. That can't just be a coincidence, right? J.K. Rowling must have something planned for the connection between these two characters.