If there’s one thing Tumblr is good for, it’s bringing members of various fandoms together. It’s the perfect place to share your obsessions with each other in a variety of formats from gifs of exceptional moments from episodes of your favorite shows to screenshots that give you all the feels and prompts for alternative head canons. Some of it is funny. Some of it is ridiculous. But it works well for fans with questions that they can’t answer themselves because it offers opportunities for discussion – serious or otherwise. Each fandom will claim that they’re the most vocal, most loyal and most obsessed but the Harry Potter fandom has done an excellent job of making sure they’re in the running. Hey, it may be fantasy. It may be fiction. But that doesn’t mean there aren't serious questions that demand answers. Fortunately, Tumblr users are always up for the challenge. Here are some of the best of them:
16 When they questioned Harry’s status as Horcrux
One hopes that, if you’re reading this article, you have also read the books/watched the movies and aren’t in for a devastating spoiler moment. Aside from the school time shenanigans and fascinating insights into the wizarding world, Harry Potter’s central plot revolves around the fight between good (i.e. Harry et al) and evil (Voldemort and his gang of Not-So-Merry Men). Towards the end of the series, we learn that Voldemort – in his quest for eternal life – has separated his soul into seven parts and placed them into objects known as Horcruxes. To defeat him, all seven must be destroyed. And Harry is one of those seven things. Fortunately for us – and the wizarding world in general – a giant snake in the second book doesn’t eat Harry. Considering the many times Harry nearly dies in the series, this is a valid question. Apparently it’s also one that causes JK Rowling some serious distress. #pleaseneveraskmethatoneagain
14 When they wondered at the genius of the Marauder’s Map
We all wish we had a Marauder’s Map in our lives. Whether you’d use it to avoid people you didn’t feel like talking to, as a way of discovering secret ways to sneak out at night, or so that you could hide your status as a werewolf, it’s the kind of invention you’d never want to lose. As many users have pointed out, it’s a bit ridiculous that the Weasley twins didn’t notice Ron sleeping next to Peter Pettigrew. (Kind of a serious lapse in judgement and, for that matter, narrative continuity.) But that’s not the only serious question they had about the map. We learn that the Invisibility Cloak, as one of the Deathly Hallows, hides its wearer from the all-powerful Death. And yet, the cloak doesn’t hide anyone from the Marauder’s Map. The question here: How did a group of teenagers (still learning magic) create an object so advanced that it surpassed even Death’s ability to find people. Fortunately, there’s an answer to this absurdity: As Tumblr user Remusyoulittleshit points out, the gang of Padfoot, Mooney, Wormtail and Prongs have the perfect balance of genius, arrogance, rebellion and support that allows them to achieve anything.
13 The time they questioned Voldemort’s talent for murder
The entire series starts with Voldemort’s failed attempt to murder Harry Potter in response to paranoia about a prophecy. This is a story about magic, so it probably didn’t occur to you (as it didn’t occur to us) to question the method of murder i.e. the Avada Kedavra curse. But if you were to rank the spell as a weapon, it’d fall really low on a list of effective killing methods because, you know, guns. But also, if Voldemort had thought like any other successful murderer in the muggle world, he would’ve realized that it’s not that difficult to kill an unprotected baby. It’s a bit of a morbid question to consider, but as T-esserae says, it would’ve been simple to rid the world of a defenceless infant. There are a lot of things wizards do better than muggles – delicious candy being at the top of that list – but apparently murder isn’t one of them. Unless your name is Sirius Black. #probablystilltoosoon?
12 That time they raised questions about Harry’s observation skills
Harry may be a hero. He may be a legend to everyone in the wizarding world. But it’s not because he’s any kind of a genius. We’ve already spoken about how he sometimes lacks the smarts that most other wizards possess, but other Tumblr users have noticed that it’s not just that he’s not very bright. He’s also not observant. At all. Re-examine the books with that in mind and you’ll find many moments that illustrate their point – like that one time a sheet of glass disappeared into thin air and our brilliant hero never thought to wonder how or why. Or that other time (i.e. his entire life) he failed to notice that could speak to snakes. Fortunately, he has a host of other people to help him figure things out. Which, ultimately, is what the series is all about. Friendship beats everything – even noseless serial killers Dark Wizards.
11 The time they brought up the postal situation
If there’s one thing that can be said about the (many) deaths in Harry Potter, it’s that we’re still not over them. JK Rowling has said that Hedwig’s death seemed inevitable, but the owls in the Potterverse deserve danger pay. Imagine the number of owls that are lost, die or disappear because they’re delivering news to various corners of the world. Narratively, it’s a great idea, but in reality, many species of owls are endangered. Do you know what’s not a good idea? Employing (but not paying) a vanishing species to deliver mail when floo powder exists. Save the owls! Invent FlooMail! But that’s not the only question concerning owls as valid mailmen, as a Tumblr user has already noted, they can’t really be the most reliable form of mail delivery. If only there were a more trainable (read: dumber) avian species that could serve the same purpose… then again, if Hedwig had been a pigeon, would we really have cared as much about her death?
10 When they were the Fashion Police
Thank goodness wizarding fashion didn’t catch on after the movies were released. (Hey, it happens. Remember knee high socks and tartan skirts? You can thank Clueless for that.) Snape made robes look all kinds of cool, but they probably aren’t the most user-friendly items of clothing. (Unless you’re Batman of course.) Imagine how many things you’d knock over with a glorified cape flowing behind you. Not to mention the difficulty of disentangling oneself from one after a few too many vodka-sodas. And how is it possible that they don’t make it impossible to fly? Is this another question we answer with, ‘because magic?’ We’re lucky to have Tumblr acting as the Harry Potter fashion police because, as usual, their snarky comments are spot on. There was an entire movie where no one seemed all that concerned with grooming their flowing locks. Ron’s hair isn’t that much shorter than Ginny’s. It’s not a terrible look, it’s just a questionable one.
9 When they pointed out why Harry isn’t a Ravenclaw
The Sorting Hat was very clear when it was sorting Harry into his house: Either Gryffindor or Slytherin would’ve been a good fit for him. It’s interesting that it doesn’t even suggest that Ravenclaw was a viable option and, as the series progresses, it becomes clear that Harry doesn’t necessarily have the intelligence required of anyone that belongs to that house. (Hermione is another discussion entirely.) Thank you Tumblr fandom for making sure we’re all aware that our hero – for all his bravery and pluckiness – has many ‘duh’ moments. As this question on Tumblr points out, one of the most obvious intelligence slips occurs in the Half-Blood Prince where it is revealed that the notes in Harry’s potions book (the ones that have been helping him seem like a genius all year) are Snape’s. You know, the guy whose handwriting Harry had been staring at for years. DOH. He’s so lucky he found Hermione.
8 That time they were on Neville’s side
We’ve already called Harry an idiot. We’ve also called him unobservant and unfashionable. Why stop there? Because he’s also kind of an asshole. Apriki has excellent evidence to illustrate this point: Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade while invisible and, rather than stealing from the abundance of candy on the Honeydukes shelves, he knicks candy from poor Neville instead. Stealing is wrong, kids, unless you’re taking from an unfortunate looking nerd who is also your friend. Oh and also they guy who’s parents are in an instution after being tortured. It’s not the only example of Harry’s douchery, but it’s one of the more obvious ones. C’mon Harry, just because he’s going to grow up to be hotter than you does not mean you’re allowed to take his candy. Plus, aren’t you kind of rich? On that point, remember that time he pulled a fortune of gold out of his pocket in front of dirt poor Ron Weasley? Asshole.
7 When they discovered the real reason for Voldemort’s hairlessness
There’s a lot that can be said about the symbolism of snakes in the Harry Potter series. You know, biblical first temptation and subsequent condemning etc. That Tom Riddle (who, by the way, was quite the hottie before he went all batshit evil) eventually resembled a snake is a very obvious allusion to his underlying nature. Also that whole 'I’m going to get rid of my soul and become less human' thing probably didn’t help that unfortunate situation with his face. Snake comparisons aside, there’s a very logical answer to the question of Voldemort’s baldness and it took tumblr user modmad’s sister to realize it. Without hair, no one can use a Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him. Because, you know, there must be people lining up to look like their noses have caved inwards, get hunted down by an overachieving teenage wizard and lose their souls to ugly jewellery and reptiles.
6 That moment they figured out why wizards have beards
There are numerous charts on the web that illustrate how different lengths of beards have specific connotations. Like this one that shows how they can range Hitler to superwizard. Or this one that needs to be consulted before the horror that is Movember hits us. For those of you that are magically inclined (we know you exist), there’s this one to show you how long you need your beard to be before you achieve the wizarding status you desire. Attention boys: Beards can be creepy AF so choose your whiskers wisely. Also, please don’t braid daisies into them. The bearding charts are all in response to the question: Why does Dumbledore have such a long beard. But as Tumblr user foxnewsofficial has noted, there’s a much more practical – and worthy – reason to have a long beard: So that you can easily store cookies for midnight munchies. As, we’re sure, Dumbledore frequently does.
5 That time they answered a (serious) knock knock joke
As always, Tumblr users make jokes that walk the line between actually funny and below the belt. This is one of those times where they managed to achieve both. But here’s a question not answered in this screencap: Why did everyone start calling Voldemort ‘You-Know-Who’ in the first place? Because of the Taboo curse – a spell that gives a chosen word the power to reveal the location of the person who speaks it. It’s how the Death Eaters tracked the Order of Phoenix and the DA because they were the only ones dumb brave enough to speak the Chief Death Eater’s real name. Anytime the taboo was broken when one of the members said it, Voldy’s gang of whackos and weirdos could find them. This is how Snatchers caught Harry, Hermione and Ron while they were hunting horcruxes. TheThings.com – bringing you random Harry Potter trivia you never knew you needed to know.
4 That time they asked (and answered) the question: What do Americans need?
There are many arguments as to why the name of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Americans. Some fans have indicated that the word philosopher was too boring for the audience. Others think it’s because sorcerer better communicates the mystical element of the stone. The dicision was probably made for the benefit of American children who (apparently) don’t have the smarts to understand the word ‘philosopher.’ Whatever the reason, tumblr user spudsexaull thought it best to question how else to help out the American audience understand the titles. And then provided the answers to her own question. Harry Potter and the Guy With Only Some Blood doesn’t quite have the same ring as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but it definitely clears up any possible misconceptions.
3 When they questioned the science of the Polyjuice Potion
There are a lot of things that could go wrong when someone is on Polyjuice Potion. Hermione turning into a cat-woman-person-thing is an excellent example. (As far as we’re concerned, she got off lightly. After all, she could’ve accidentally used a hair from a tarantula in her potion.) But this is an excellent question. And there’s a theory to answer it: “To clarify biologically, a male gonad cell is radically different from a female one, and is unique for every person. In my head, the DNA of your gonad cells, which contains genetic information for your offspring, is linked to your soul. Hence, all your cells might change with polyjuice potion, but not the haploid ones formed out of meiosis in your reproductive organs.” Sounds complicated. But if you want to understand more, here’s the original Quora article. No word from JK Rowling on this complicated question, you can be sure Tumblr will always fall too far into the fandom wormhole.
2 That time they theorized about the Longbottom-Potter prophecy
Thanks to this Tumblr user, we have an alternative conclusion to draw from the revelation that Harry and Neville share a birthday. As is revealed, either of them could’ve been the Boy Who Lived – it only ended up being Harry because Voldemort, feeling more threatened by the Potters, chose to attack them instead. Reading the first few books, you’d be forgiven for being relieved that Neville wasn’t chosen. He would’ve made a very forgetful, awkward and potentially pathetic hero. It’s only later in the series – when he discovers his abilities in the DA – that he starts to seem like a realistic option. And by the end of the Deathly Hallows, he’s proven to be a formidable opponent for the bad guy brigade. But none of that matters when you think carefully about this tumblr post. How epic was a Sirius Black party? Did they dress up? And how much debauchery could a bunch of wizards really get up to? (We’re thinking lots.) Those shenanigans resulted in the birth of the Boy-Who-Lived and the Boy-Who-Almost-Was-But-Can-Barely-Tie-His-Shoelaces.
1 That time they questioned Hermione's capacity for BS
Since it’s very clear that Harry is not the brains of the operation (and Ron definitely isn’t), it’s fortunate that he found a friend in Hermione Granger. It would’ve been impossible to solve the many puzzles and reach the end of those inconvenient and potentially deadly quests if it weren’t for her talent for logic. That’s not to say she’s always consistently intelligent though. Her dislike for Professor Trelawney and the subject of Divination may be legendary but they’re not logical. Like Porcelain-Horse-Horselain says, this is a girl who accepts many things that are contrary to what she knows as part of the muggle world. So, if she doesn’t bat an eyelid at centaurs or flying cars, why can’t she believe that Trelawney’s prophetic abilities could be legitimate? Although, in all fairness, Trelawney is about as believable as Kanye West is humble. You can’t really blame Hermione for not taking her seriously. You wouldn’t either.