Some “Harry Potter” Questions Should Never Be Answered
I enjoy taking the time to paint my own picture of the wizarding world, drawing on canonical details and fan speculation for support, and I am sure many fans feel the same way. But even within my own conception of the wizarding world, there remain plenty of unanswered questions and unaddressed details.
This is where Potter fans are lucky to have the brilliant J.K. Rowling, who periodically graces us with new and fascinating tidbits about the world she created. But while it is wonderful that Rowling continues to engage with her source material and her fans, I believe there are some Harry Potter questions that ought never to be definitively answered by her. Here are just a few examples.
How did Fred and George never see Peter Pettigrew on the Marauder’s Map?
Sometimes, trying to explain plot holes is more of a fan’s endeavor than an author’s. Fans have made serious business out of filling plot holes like these, and we pride ourselves on our work. Though she is the ultimate authority, for Rowling to weigh in with an answer at this stage may very well cheapen the effort fans have put into solving plot holes on their own. But even worse would be for her to admit that it’s just a plot hole and that there is no solution. Plot holes are puzzles with an intriguing magic of their own. Let’s allow them to stay that way.
What is the full story of the Marauder generation?
Sometimes the fans themselves have become so invested in fleshing out certain aspects of the story that it would honestly ruin the experience for J.K. Rowling to come in with new information. The story of the Marauders is perhaps the most extensively explored dimension of the Potter world since over the years, fans have worked together to uncover its details, depths, and astonishing darkness. We’ve formed such detailed pictures of these characters and events in our minds that any new canonical information would most likely be met with controversy. Let’s not have a repeat of Cursed Child.
Why didn’t Voldemort just make seven random pebbles into Horcruxes and throw them in a lake?
Sometimes, ridiculous or excessively complicated plot details are not the fault of the author but rather of the character. Answering these questions is just tedious, and asking them is pointless. Part of the beauty of Harry Potter is that the characters are all human, and as human beings, they have license to make some pretty epic mistakes. Maybe I wouldn’t have made such obvious Horcruxes, or accepted Peter’s “death” at face value, or tried to snatch a letter from the air when I could have picked one up from the floor. But what I would do doesn’t really matter when considering the actions of human characters in a story.
What is the nature of wizarding culture, technology, and society in all parts of the world? Where does my identity and experience fit into the wizarding world?
This is a rather broad category of questions to which Rowling’s answer attempts have ranged from questionable to deeply controversial. Her history of American wizardry, particularly her misguided attempt at incorporating Native American culture, was received very poorly by many American fans. Her statement that Voldemort could not love because he was conceived under a love potion has all kinds of problematic implications associated with it. Attempts to address the lack of diversity of every kind in her books have fallen flat. Even little pieces of information, like the idea that there is no higher education after Hogwarts, have been met with thousands of further questions and criticisms from fans.
For all her brilliance, J.K. Rowling is but one person with nowhere near enough time or experiences to address all the questions brought up by such a large and diverse fan base. It’s best that fans answer these questions themselves and build a wizarding world based on their own experiences and ideas. After all, the world of Harry Potter belongs to all of us, and as we grow up and go on our separate journeys in life, our wizarding world should grow and evolve along with us.